Bambang Brodjonegoro has been the finance minister of Indonesia since October 2014. He was a vice minister of finance during the administration of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Before entering government in 2011, Bambang served as a director at the Islamic Development Bank from 2009 to 2011 and as dean of faculty in the economics department at Universitas Indonesia from 2005 to 2009. Bambang holds a master’s degree in urban planning and a PhD in regional planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Why is he in the news?
Bambang played a crucial role in drafting the revised 2015 national budget that was passed by the opposition-controlled lower house of Indonesia’s parliament in February. The revised budget marks President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s second major economic victory since taking office, following his decision last year to cut Indonesia’s costly fuel subsidies.
The new budget transfers savings from the reduced fuel subsidies to new infrastructure spending, which economists agree is critical to help Indonesia maintain annual growth above 6 percent. Bambang said he will direct the spending toward agricultural irrigation, rural roads, and sea ports. Infrastructure upgrades lie at the heart of Jokowi’s efforts to promote Indonesia as open for business and investment.
What can we expect from him?
In addition to supervising infrastructure spending, Bambang is expected to tackle tax reforms in Indonesia, which will likely consist of shifting the burden from businesses, which account for most government revenue, to individuals, and offering tax incentives to companies that invest in key sectors of the economy. Indonesia’s current tax base is around 12 percent of gross domestic product, which is small for a country of its size.