American Government Miserly in Converting Indonesia’s Loan
Tuesday, 11 December, 2007 | 21:29 WIB
TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati is of the opinion that the United States is not helpful in converting the Indonesian government’s loan with the nature conservation program (debt to nature swap).
The statement was conveyed to US Deputy Finance Minister, David McCormick, during the finance ministerial level summit at the United Nations Conference for Climate Change (UNFCC) at the Intercontinental Hotel Jimbaran, Bali, yesterday (10/12).
Uncle Sam only wants to convert Indonesia’s debt to the Indonesian forest conservation and recovery programs amounting to US$19.6 million (around Rp180 billion). “That number is too small. The US has a good deal of money, but they’re very cautious,” said Sri Mulyani, McCormick laughed hearing Sri Mulyani’s satirical remark. “She’s a tough woman,” he said.
McCormick said the debt swap agreement was a program that is important for the forest conservation program.
According to Sri Mulyani, the debt conversion was the US first step for Indonesia. Previously, Indonesia obtained a debt conversion from German and Italy for the education program. “Now the total has reached US$200 million (around Rp1.8 trillion),” she said. The government expected that other creditor countries were willing to swap the debt to certain programs.
The government, said Sri Mulyani, will manage the debt conversion fund with structured management in the form of, for example, a trust fund. The government will invite several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to join in managing the fund. “NGOs will be involved and use the fund connected to tropical forest reservations and others,” she said.
Sri Mulyani said that Indonesia also obtained a program loan from the World Bank amounting to US$600 million. “It’s already been approved by the World Bank last week,” she said.