Rizal Ramli: Prabowo’s sense of priority needs to be emulated

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Senior economist Rizal Ramli. (Photo: IO/Rayi Gigih)

IO – Amid the increasingly widespread COVID-19 pandemic, the government should thank Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto. This is inseparable from the assertiveness of the Chairman of the Gerindra Party, which delayed the purchase of the main defense system last year. This was highlighted by senior economist Rizal Ramli in ILC tvOne, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. “The government should thank Prabowo. It is yet to be heard,” he said. 

Last year, President Joko Widodo instructed the Ministry of Defense to strengthen the defense system of the Republic of Indonesia, one aspect of which was by spending on defense equipment. Responding to the President’s request, Defense Minister Prabowo swiftly visited main defense system industries in several countries as a comparison, before making purchases of equipment that supports the Indonesian defense system in the future. Even the Ministry of Defense has also held an exhibition for domestic defense equipment industry players who have a variety of sophisticated equipment that is in fact not inferior to imported products. 

But seeing the various offers that landed on the Defense Minister’s table regarding the purchase price of defense equipment that was higher than what he knows, Prabowo has thus delayed signing all defense equipment purchase projects. “He did not sign all the defense equipment purchase projects with a markup of more than 10 percent. In so doing, he has saved IDR 3.4 billion. Total of IDR 50 trillion because usually the total defense equipment mark-up is hundreds of percent. For him, the maximum is 10 percent. Above 10 percent he does not want to sign,” said Rizal. 

Furthermore, the man who is called by the initials RR said Prabowo had conveyed his consideration to President Jokowi. Thanks to Prabowo’s critical stance in cutting the tradition of marking up the defense system budget, the government still has money to focus on handling corona. For this reason, during the coronavirus pandemic, the government still has a budget that might be used to deal with the corona. 

Exemplifying the Defense Minister Prabowo, RR also requests a sense of crisis from all ministers, heads of institutions, officials and board members to prioritize the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic over the various projects and programs which could still be postponed temporarily, including infrastructure development project budgets that could be used first to handle the Corona pandemic. For example, the New Capital development project. “(The government still has) A total of IDR 207 trillion. Stop the infrastructure project for the new capital. Stop it first, use the money (to handle corona),” he concluded. (dan)