IO, Jakarta – As a citizen who harbors great concern for the survival of Indonesia as a State and Nation, Prabowo Subianto is concerned about current realities. He has thus proposed to national figures what he calls a “Big Push” strategy, appealing to Government officials, up to the President of RI. He declares that he can vouch for the data he presents in a symposium themed “Realizing Food and Energy Independence in order to Generate Double-Digit Economic Growth” delivered in the amphitheater of IKS UKRI (Strategic Research Institute of the National University of the Republic of Indonesia), Hambalang Campus, Bogor, on Thursday (26/09/2019).
He states that “Indonesia’s big idea” is not accepted by certain global parties, which is unfortunate. As the fourth-most-populous country in the world, one which is also the third-richest in natural resources as well as the second-most-biologically diverse nation in the world after Brazil. With all these advantages, Indonesia should be a country with sizable power. Unfortunately, Indonesian citizens seem too obsessed by their own concerns and will thus spare no time for the Republic’s various natural assets and resources. Finally, this results in the sovereignty of our country being coopted by other nations.
Low economic growth, higher food prices (due to dependence on imports), productive-age citizens (18-35 y.o.) out of work, a population explosion, rife ideological radicalism and pandemics all occur. These all end up in inflation and a huge income gap, wherein only 1% of citizens enjoy amazing wealth. “I am worried because many foreign strategists predict Indonesia will become inhospitable,” Prabowo warned.
Prabowo further stated that since America, the granddaddy of neo-liberalism, has even moved on and left a discredited movement behind, why do we still follow it? “As a son of this nation, I give my thoughts to Mr. Jokowi. I contribute my mind for the State and the nation. This is the interest of our citizens and people. I am worried because the Government’s primary duty should be to protect the entire land, to educate the entire citizenry and to cultivate their intelligence. If a country fails to protect its people, if it fails to enable its people to prosper, it becomes a failed state,” he declared.
Prabowo offers his strategy to the Government in order for it to achieve double-digit economic growth. It focuses on the achievement of food and energy production independence, and on the massive creation of new jobs. Prabowo highlights Indonesia’s per capita annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 1968 to 2018, which tends to remain within the USD 5,000.00 range. He states that this is much lower than the GDP of other countries, such as the United States, France, and South Korea, who have continued to raise their GDP year by year (see the infographics).
Prabowo states that Indonesia’s per capita GDP should in fact be higher. For nearly five years, Indonesia’s economic growth has stagnated at around 5%. He is concerned when he sees Governmental economic experts proudly exclaim that 5% economic growth. Meanwhile, World Bank data states that our GDP per capita is in fact 3% and not 5%. The World Bank further predicts that Indonesia’s 5% economic growth figure can fall to 4%, or even 3.7 %, if China’s economy stalls.
The National Development Planning Agency (Badan Perencanaan Pembangunan Nasional – “Bappenas”) announced Indonesia’s economic growth simulation scenarios, extending from 2020 to 2024, in June 2019, as follows: the best-case scenario for economic growth in the next five years will be 6%, with normal scenario at 5.7% and worst-case scenario at 5.4%. “This shocks me. The economy of other countries continues to rise, while our economic team only promises 6%. This is the same as surrendering before fighting, even though our population continues to increase and food, water, and electricity needs will rise with it. When I have studied the history of economic development, in order to struggle out of poverty and the traps of weak countries, we must have a sustained double-digit push,” Prabowo said.
Prabowo further elaborates how, according to the World Bank, all countries – whether poor, middling, or rich – share three constant basic needs: food, water, and energy. Therefore, in order to get out of this rut we find ourselves in, his strategies include food independence within two years, energy independence within three years, and the creation of 28 million new job opportunities within three years. Furthermore, food and energy imports must be reduced by USD 25 billion a year. The strategy was formulated by a team headed by Prabowo himself and that included senior economist Rizal Ramli as a member.
Our money drains out of the nation because of our dependence on imported crude oil (at 16 million tons) and imported petroleum fuel (26 million tons a year). The total expenditure on these two items is up to USD 20 billion a year. Dependence on important foodstuffs, especially wheat, totals 18 million tons a year. We import 2 million tons of rice a year and 1 million tons of corn a year. This erodes our currency reserves by USD 5 billion a year.
Food independence can be achieved within two years by converting 8 million ha of damaged forests to farmlands. 6 million ha is to be specifically set aside to produce 18 million tons of wheat a year, with an assumption that each hectare of land is capable of producing 3 tons of wheat a year. Prabowo cited Pasuruan as a region that has produced wheat successfully. Another 1 million ha of land is dedicated to producing 10 million tons of rice and 1 million tons of corn a year. Total investment required to open up 8 million ha of productive land is USD 24 billion or USD 3,000.00 per hectare.
Energy independence within 3 years would require 3 million ha of land, to be planted with cassava and sugar palm to generate 36 million tons bioethanol a year. It would reduce Indonesia’s dependence on imported petroleum fuel. That represents another USD 3,000 per ha or USD 18 billion in total. The remaining production after we comply with European Union’s policy of limiting palm coconut oil imports can be used to add to the material for producing biodiesel. The Government currently possesses 36 million ha of abandoned land throughout the archipelago. With a total need of 14 million ha of land for the special program, this is quite viable.
Prabowo further stated that by working the 14 million ha this way, the State can generate job opportunities for 28 million citizens. “If each hectare of land in the conversion scheme requires USD 3,000.00, then we need a total of USD 42 billion. With this scheme, we will save USD 25 billion a year, and we get an extra USD 12.5 billion a year as well, because the economy can circulate with about USD 30 billion a year,” he said. “With this amount saved, it won’t be hard for the State to cover all necessary investments for running the Big Push strategy for more than the above 14 million ha of land. Furthermore, if the 25 billion circulates within the country, the economic value will increase fourfold, to about USD 100-120 billion income a year.”
If it works, Prabowo believes that the best-case scenario for Indonesia’s economic growth would be 15%, medium would be 9%-10%, and a worst-case scenario of 7%. This is much better than the numbers set by our current Government’s economic team.
Prabowo stated that after formulating these results, he has submitted this solution to the Government. He stated that the solution was generated from scientific study and that it is open to the public. Therefore, he is ready to accept any challenges or disagreements about the study results from anyone. ‘’There is no more “01” or “O2” now. I am inviting all political parties, the Ministry of Defense, any organization, including the Headquarters (Headquarters of the Army, Navy, and Air Force), rectors, the National Intelligence Agency, the Strategic Intelligence Agency, and the mass media,’’ he said. (Dan)