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Indonesia’s Jokowi Orders Spending Spree to Head Off Coronavirus

  • Officials warn of hit to exports and growth on back of virus
  • Government sees tax reform boosting economic activity

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Indonesian President Joko Widodo has called for fiscal stimulus to be accelerated in a bid to shield Southeast Asia’s biggest economy from the coronavirus crisis.

“All ministries should start spending as early as possible,” Widodo said Tuesday, adding that the speed at which stimulus is rolled out will be crucial in supporting the economy. “As we know, the new global economy is unfriendly because of the coronavirus,” he told ministers gathered for a cabinet meeting, according to a statement released by his office.

While Indonesia is yet to record a single case of the deadly virus which has spread from Wuhan, China, to a string of other countries, officials have become increasingly worried about the economic impact. China is Indonesia’s biggest trading partner and its top export destination, with shipments last year -- mostly coal, nickel, palm oil, pulp and copper -- valued at $28 billion, Trade Ministry data shows.