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Monday, January 19, 2009

President Yudhoyono calls on businessmen to remain steadfast

Batam (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called on business companies operating in the free trade zones in Batam, Bintan and Karimun to remain steadfast in the current global economic crisis.

He made the appeal during a dialogue with Indonesian and Singaporean businessmen at Turi Beach Resort here on Monday evening.

"While the storm is not yet over, it is certain that exports will drop whereas Batam, Bintan and Karimun are relying on exports. So I ask for your understanding that the world market is indeed weakening and shrinking. Well this year we have to struggle to survive, so that in time later we could rise again," he said.

To ease the burden of businessmen, the President said, the government has since September 2008 cooperated with the central bank and some businessmen to issue special policies such as government regulations in lieu of laws, incentives, stimulus and others.

"They are all aimed at calming the market and reducing the burden of businessmen to maintain the real sector," he said.

To maintain the people`s buying power, the business community needs to give their contribution by reducing prices if possible, he said.

"If there is an opportunity to maintain prices or even lowering them, demands will be maintain, and there will also be buyers," he said.

The head of state said the essence of economic recession is declining demands and therefore the only way to solve the problem would be safeguarding demands.

President Yudhoyono also called on the people not to cut their spendings. "Those who can afford to buy things need to keep buying so that products from the real sector are maintained. Let us act like business is as usual in a positive sense," he said.

The President said the general elections Indonesia would hold in the near future would be one of the forms of economic movement.

"Indonesia will conduct general elections. A lot of colourful flags have been raised and in the not too distant future campaigning will be done and in April voting for legislative candidates will take place which will be followed later by presidential elections. They are business. I appeal to parties to raise as many flags as possible, make as many campaign T-shirt as possible and hold as many music performances as possible so that singers get a fortune and economy is moving," he said.

He said the government was ready to lose or to see the foreign exchange reserve to drop so long as people did not lose.

Regarding the country`s economic condition President Yudhoyono said quoting "The Economist" that it was so far so good.

"I think it was issued last week. There was a small article about Indonesia there titled "So far so good". Articles written by the Economist or the Times must have no political motives," he said.

It was said Indonesia`s economy grew 6.3 percent in 2007 and 6.1 percent in 2008. He said it showed that the real economy in 2008 still moved and so if Indonesia could withstand in 2008 it would certainly be able to do it too in 2009.

"Last year we could withstand so I hope the economic growth target that we have already revised could be achieved and I ask for your cooperation for it," he said.

The government has corrected the country`s economic growth to 4.5 and 5.5 percent.

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