Indonesia accuses IMF of pushing hard for reforms

Ulhas Joglekar ulhasj at
Fri Feb 16 18:50:39 MST 2001

16 February 2001

Indonesia accuses IMF of pushing hard for reforms
JAKARTA, Indonesia: Indonesia's Senior Economics Minister Rizal Ramli on
Thursday accused the International Monetary Fund of pushing too hard for
economic reforms that involve tough political decisions.
"Yes, we've got that feeling," he said, when asked at a briefing of foreign
journalists whether the IMF had been too demanding.
The IMF has delayed new loans to Indonesia and says it must first deliver on
three key issues. These are the maintenance of central bank independence,
the need for oversight of a bank restructuring body and a ban on borrowing
by regional governments.
Ramli said the fund should understand that change was harder to achieve in
the world's fourthmost populous nation now that it has moved away from three
decades of dictatorship and was trying to establish democracy.
"I said look, this is not an authoritarian regime anymore," Ramli said,
adding that reforms have to have the backing of many political groups and
the parliament, which no longer acts like a rubber stamp for the government.
Ramli's complaint comes at a time when President Abdurrahman Wahid is locked
in a struggle with the parliament over corruption allegations.
Recently the legislature censured Wahid for his alleged involvement in two
multimillion-dollar affairs, triggering a wave of street protests for and
against the head of state and setting the stage for his possible
Wahid has denied any wrongdoing and has rejecetd calls for his resignation.
Asked about local government loans, Rizal said he'd issued a circular
telling local authorities not to borrow privately in 2001, but said it
wasn't possible to amend the law to make this clear.
"I'm sending a letter today to Stanley Fischer to say, look we can't
explicitly say that we won't allow local governments to borrow because this
is against the (regional autonomy) law," he said. Fischer is the IMF's first
deputy managing director.
Indonesia is currently grappling with its worst economic crisis in a
generations. Since the crisis erupted in 1997, Indonesia has relied on IMF
support to keep the economy afloat.
Even so it has regularly had clashes with the fund over the implementation
of politically sensitive reforms.(AP)
 For reprint rights:Times Syndication Service

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