(Bloomberg) -- Indonesians should save less money and spend more on shopping, concerts and sporting events so that consumption can drive stronger economic growth, President Joko Widodo said.
There’s roughly 690 trillion rupiah ($45.4 billion) sitting idle in savings accounts as people “hit the brakes” on spending in 2022, Jokowi, as the president is known, said in a meeting with provincial governments on Thursday. With all pandemic restrictions scrapped this year, local leaders should push Indonesians to go out more, he said.
“They don’t want to shop, don’t want to come to restaurants, don’t want to come to markets, don’t want to come to malls — no, better keep it in the bank,” Jokowi said. “This is not allowed. We must encourage the public to spend as much as possible to trigger our economic growth.”
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This isn’t the first time the president embarked on a shopping campaign. He made a similar call during a national shopping week almost two years ago in a bid to revive spending that had slowed during the pandemic.
Consumption accounts for more than half of Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, which is forecast to expand 5.1% this year.
Jokowi ordered the national police to approve permits at least a month in advance so that events could be promoted more widely. There are over 3,000 sports and arts events slated in Indonesia this year, including the FIFA U-20 World Cup and concerts by K-pop artists like Blackpink and BTS member Suga.
Local governments should take advantage of the rebound in travel to lure more tourists to their islands and villages, Jokowi said. Micro and small enterprises also can set up booths at popular tourist spots so that visitors can “spend as much as possible.”
“Don’t let the 690 trillion rupiah stay on hold,” the president said.
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