Indonesia strengthens financial crisis protocol amid coronavirus

Few vehicles are seen on the usually busy Sudirman street as the government called on people to stay home amid the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in Jakarta on March 31, 2020. (File/AFP)
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Updated 01 April 2020

Indonesia strengthens financial crisis protocol amid coronavirus

  • Southeast Asia’s largest economy is expected to grow 2.3 percent in 2020
  • The rupiah will fall further to average between 17,500 to 20,000 to the dollar, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said

JAKARTA: Indonesia has improved its protocol to prevent a financial crisis amid the coronavirus outbreak, its finance minister said on Wednesday as she flagged a worst case scenario of contraction in 2020 GDP growth and the rupiah falling to a historic low.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said the protocol to help failing banks has been upgraded to allow for early responses by all financial authorities as part of an emergency regulation that President Joko Widodo announced on Tuesday.

Southeast Asia’s largest economy is expected to grow 2.3 percent in 2020, but the government has prepared for a worse scenario of a contraction of 0.4 percent, Indrawati said. Her scenarios also include the rupiah falling further to average between 17,500 to 20,000 to the dollar, the weakest on record, compared to the 16,380 exchange rate at 0320 GMT on Wednesday.


Somalia names new PM, announces plan for national elections

Members of new parliament look on after they were sworn-in at Adan Adde airport in Mogadishu. Somalia is likely to hold elections next year. (AFP/File)
Updated 19 September 2020

Somalia names new PM, announces plan for national elections

  • The UN had described the pursuit of one-person, one-vote elections as a “historic milestone” on Somalia’s path to full democratization and peace after decades of war and violent instability in the Horn of Africa nation

MOGADISHU: Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has appointed a new prime minister hours after brokering an agreement with regional leaders for elections next year that abandons a promised one-person, one-vote model.
Mohamed’s office announced late Thursday the appointment of Mohamed Hussein Roble, a Swedish-trained civil engineer and political neophyte, and “wished him to take duties and tasks ahead with diligence.”
He fills a vacancy left when former Premier Hassan Ali Khaire was removed by parliament in July for failing to pave the way for fully democratic elections due before February 2021.
The foreign-backed government in Mogadishu has been in drawn-out negotiations with Somalia’s federal states over how to proceed with parliamentary and presidential elections.
However, the process has been held up by political infighting between the president — better known by his nickname Farmajo — and the country’s regional leaders.
Somalia had set itself the goal of holding its first fully democratic, one-man, one-vote election since 1969 — as opposed to a complex system in which special delegates pick lawmakers who then vote for the president.
But an agreement reached between the president, five regional leaders and the mayor of Mogadishu has conceded that such a vote would be impossible within the time frame remaining before Somalia’s parliament expires in November, and Farmajo’s term ends in February.
In an official communique, the negotiators said delegates from Somalia’s myriad clans would elect the 275 MPs of the lower house, which in turn chooses the president.

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The foreign-backed government in Mogadishu has been in drawn-out negotiations with Somalia’s federal states over how to proceed with parliamentary and presidential elections.

While the process mirrors the last election held in 2017, it will go a bit further in terms of inclusivity, with 27,775 delegates voting — almost twice as many as last time.
No timeline was given, and it remains unclear what role the country’s independent election commission will play, with the federal and state governments to appoint their own agencies to oversee their respective polls.
The plan still needs to be approved by Somalia’s parliament.
The UN had described the pursuit of one-person, one-vote elections as a “historic milestone” on Somalia’s path to full democratization and peace after decades of war and violent instability in the Horn of Africa nation.
But observers had warned that such a goal was looking increasingly unlikely due to tensions with the states, technical aspects such as voter registration, and security challenges posed by the Al-Shabab militant group.
The fragile central government, chaired by Farmajo, controls only a part of Somali territory and relies on an international peacekeeping force to confront a violent insurgency from Al-Shabab in the countryside.
Mogadishu had been criticized by observers for engaging in political feuds with federal states to gain control in the election process, rather than focusing on the fight against the militants.