30 June 2009
Sri Mulyani Indrawti -- Governor of the Indonesian Central Bank?
Politics in Indonesia is a strange animal and even stranger are the motivations of those that play. The latest rumor or perhaps a little more than rumor now that the incumbent president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono or SBY to his friends, has said that he is considering it, is the selection of Sri Mulyani Indrawati (photo) as the prospective Governor of Bank Indonesia (Indonesia's Central Bank).
Sri Mulyani is one of SBY's best performing Ministers, if not his best performing Minister. She holds the Finance Portfolio and since the former Coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs, Boediono, was appointed to Bank Indonesia, she has held that portfolio as well.
She is a world class reformer and has made significant inroads into reforming the bureaucracy. She is generally considered to have been successful in her role and been a driving force in cleaning up her department.
Why is it that her appointment to Bank Indonesia is problematic when Bank Indonesia is also an institution that could benefit from her reforming ways? Well, the move reeks of marginalizing the competition and a real shaker and mover on the agenda of reform. A move to Bank Indonesia takes Sri Mulyani out of the majority of the policy areas that she has been so intimate and successful in to date. Almost certainly leading to a waning of her influence in real and broad reforms.
The move is a backward step for those interested in the bureaucratic reform of government. This is not to say that there are not worthy candidates to replace her, there are. This is a backward step because whoever replaces her would have to work twice as hard to develop the gravitas she has acquired during her time in the position. If SBY, and Boediono, are serious then the most sensible move would be, assuming SBY and Boediono win the presidency and vice-presidency, is to make Sri Mulyani the Coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs in the next SBY Government.
There is little doubt that Sri Mulyani would be appointed to the position of Governor of Bank Indonesia if she were proposed as a candidate. Her confirmation through the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR) would not likely encounter much resistance, if any.