New Delhi :The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors on June 17, 2022, approved a $750 million loan to the Indonesian government to help increase tax revenue, improve tax system equity, and strengthen institutions for more efficient planning and spending.
Despite impressive development progress over recent decades in the country, Indonesia continues to face challenges, partly brought by the COVID19 pandemic, in its efforts to maintain sustainable and inclusive economic growth. This is in part due to the level of Indonesia’s tax revenues, which is lower when compared to other emerging economies, as is spending on public investment, health, and social protection. Consequently, reforms to tax policy and administration, and public expenditure are important prerequisites for the Government to be able to deliver on its development priorities.
“Since 2019, the Government of Indonesia has been focusing on tax and expenditure reforms,” said Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of Finance of the Republic of Indonesia. “The support from the World Bank will help strengthen Indonesia’s fiscal sustainability, contribute to Indonesia’s broad-based economic growth following the pandemic, and help reduce poverty.”
The Indonesia Fiscal Reform Development Policy Loan, will help address the country’s key revenue and expenditure challenges through two pillars. The first pillar aims to increase revenue by increasing the value-added tax (VAT) rate, especially for high-income individuals, and by rationalizing tax exemptions. This pillar will also introduce a carbon tax that will support a low-carbon economy by imposing a tax on emission from coal-fired power plants.
The second pillar aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of spending by strengthening the capacity of subnational governments in the fiscal transfer systems, strengthening the link between planning and budgeting, and improving Indonesia’s budget execution. These efforts will help increase funding for the more populous regions, improve development spending results, and be more aligned with national development priorities.
“The pandemic has reduced the fiscal space for Indonesia’s development spending as revenue mobilization is low,” said Satu Kahkonen, World Bank Country Director for Indonesia and Timor-Leste.”These fiscal reforms will support the post-pandemic recovery by generating more revenue and helping improve the quality of spending. Our new financing will complement the significant reforms that Indonesia has taken to reduce poverty and improve development outcomes, and will also help Indonesia’s transition toward low carbon and sustainable energy.”
The new financing is aligned with the World Bank’s Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for Indonesia 2021-2025, particularly strategic objectives related to strengthening economic competitiveness and resilience and improving infrastructure through the introduction of a carbon tax.