Inequality gap continues to widen: Indonesia president
By Bagus B.T. Saragih, The Jakarta Post/Asia News NetworkIndonesia's remarkable economic growth has failed to translate into the eradication of poverty and the closing of the gap between the haves and the have nots, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said yesterday.
January 24, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
“When we talk about social disparity, we talk about injustice. I have repeated several times that the cost a country with high economic growth must pay is disparity. Without us realizing, the gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen,” Yudhoyono told a Cabinet meeting at the State Secretariat.
The meeting's main agenda item was the National Economic Committee (KEN) delivering a presentation to the government on suggestions for poverty eradication programs.
Indonesia has enjoyed positive economic growth amid a crisis that has hurt many European countries. With 6.3-percent economic growth, Indonesia was among the top three nations, with the highest growth in 2012 alongside China and India.
According to the 2013 state budget, that growth could increase to 6.8 percent this year, which would make Indonesia the world's second highest growth economy in the world after China.
Yudhoyono has repeatedly touted Indonesia's economic growth in many international forums.
Critics, however, said the government had failed to distribute the fruits of that growth to the poor and translate economic improvements into better welfare levels for poorer citizens.
The United Nations Development Program reported that Indonesia in 2011 was ranked 124th out of 187 countries in the Human Development Index (HDI), with a score of 0.617. Indonesia was 108 in 2010.
Among the countries of ASEAN, Indonesia was only ahead of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.