Towards a More Equal Indonesia: How the government can take action to close the gap between the richest and the rest | Economic Inequality | Poverty

Please download to get full document.

View again

of 48
All materials on our website are shared by users. If you have any questions about copyright issues, please report us to resolve them. We are always happy to assist you.
Information Report
Category:

Documents

Published:

Views: 5 | Pages: 48

Extension: PDF | Download: 0

Share
Related documents
Description
The gap between the richest and the rest in Indonesia has grown faster in the past two decades than in any other country in South-East Asia. The four richest men in Indonesia now have more wealth than the poorest 100 million people. Inequality is slowing down poverty reduction, dampening economic growth and threatening social cohesion. President Jokowi has made fighting inequality his administration’s top priority for 2017. This report shows how he could achieve this by enforcing a living wage for all workers, increasing spending on public services, and making big corporations and rich individuals pay their fair share of tax.
Transcript
  OXFAM BRIEFING PAPER FEBRUARY 2017 www.oxfam.org Looking at the future: a father holds his daughter as he stands on a site where residents have recently been evicted from nearby luxury apartments in North Jakarta .  Photo: Tiara Audina/Antropolog y  UI TOWARDS A MORE EQUAL INDONESIA How the government can take action to close the gap between the richest and the rest In the past two decades, the gap between the richest and the rest in Indonesia has grown faster than in any other country in South-East Asia. The four richest men in Indonesia now have more wealth than the poorest 100 million people. Inequality is slowing down poverty reduction, dampening economic growth and threatening social cohesion. President Jokowi has made fighting inequality his adminis tration’s top priority for 2017. He can achieve this by enforcing a living wage for all workers, increasing spending on public services, and making big corporations and rich individuals pay their fair share of tax.  2 SUMMARY Since 2000, economic growth has taken off in Indonesia. There has been a significant increase in the country’s score on the UN’s Human Development Index (HDI), a nd the proportion of people living in extreme poverty has fallen from 40 percent to 8 percent. However, the benefits of growth have not been shared equally, and millions have been left behind. If the $3.10 World Bank ‘moderate’ poverty line is used, the number of Indonesians living in poverty shoots up to 93 million (36 percent of the population). Many more Indonesians live just above the poverty line, making them vulnerable to falling back into poverty.   In the past 20 years the gap between the richest and the rest has risen faster than in any other country in South-East Asia. 1  Indonesia has the sixth worst inequality of wealth in the world. In 2016, the wealthiest 1 percent of the population owned nearly half (49 percent) of total wealth. The number of billionaires increased from one in 2002 to 20 in 2016. They are all men. In 2016, the collective wealth of the richest four billionaires was $25bn, more than the total wealth of the bottom 40 percent of the population  –  about 100 million people. In just one day, the richest Indonesian man can earn from interest on his wealth over one thousand times more than what the poorest Indonesians spend on their basic needs for an entire year. 2  The amount of money earned annually from his wealth would be sufficient to lift more than 20 million Indonesians out of extreme poverty. Urban inequality in particular has been rising, which presents an inequality risk for the future as Indonesia has the highest urbanization growth in Asia. There is also high inequality between rural and urban areas. The widening of the gap between the rich and the rest is a serious threat to Indonesia’s future prosperity . If inequality is not tackled, then reducing poverty will be much more difficult, and social instability could increase. Research also suggests that inequality is hampering economic growth. Conversely, taking action to narrow the gap could lift millions of people out of poverty, lead to a more cohesive society, contribute to sustainable and equitable growth, and help Indonesia to meet its Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets. The drivers of inequality in Indonesia are complex and multi-layered, ranging from structural causes to more specific policy choices. Following a period of relatively equitable growth, market fundamentalism introduced following the financial crisis of 1997 has produced an economy that enables those at the top to capture by far the greatest share of the benefits of growth. This has resulted in an increase in political capture, as those at the top have been able to use the influence that wealth bestows to rig the rules in their favour at the expense of the many. Gender inequality, one of the oldest forms of inequality, is pervasive in Indonesia and acts as both a driver and a consequence of economic inequality. Low wages and insecure work for those at the bottom further compounds inequality and prevents workers from lifting themselves out of poverty. Unequal access between rural and urban areas to infrastructure such as electricity and good quality roads compounds spatial inequalities. A concentration of land ownership in the hands of big corporations and wealthy individuals means that the benefits of land ownership accrue to those at the top, at the expense of the rest of society.  3 The taxation system has failed to play its necessary role in redistributing wealth, and is far from reaching its revenue-raising potential to fund inequality-reducing public services. Indonesia’s tax collection as a percentage of GDP is the second-lowest in South-East Asia. The IMF has calculated that the country has a potential tax take of 21.5 percent of GDP. If it were to reach this figure it could increase the health budget nine times over. Indonesia’s tax base is also the victim of tax dodgers. In 2014 $100bn flowed from Indonesia into tax havens, equivalent to nearly 10 times the education budget in that year. Tax revenues are needed to fund vital public services to provide equality of opportunity to all. While the government has made strides towards achieving universal health coverage, more funds are needed to remove damaging insurance premiums. Likewise, the education system is underfunded; there are barriers to equal access and it does not provide Indonesians with the skills needed to enter the workforce, meaning that millions of workers are unable to access higher-skilled and higher-paid jobs. There is a clear public desire for the government to take action to close the gap: 88 percent of Indonesians believe that it is urgent that the government reduces inequality. This has been recognized by President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), who has described levels of inequality as ‘dangerous’ and made tackling inequality the top priority for his administration in 2017. A new ‘Economic Justice’  policy package has been launched to tackle inequality, including measures to increase land redistribution, to tax land speculators, improve access to credit for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, and to increase the skills of Indonesia’s workforce. While these measures are welcome, the Indonesian government can and must go further. In particular, it must do more to ensure fair work and wages for the majority of Indonesians and to implement a progressive taxation system that raises more revenues to invest in vital public healthcare and education services. With political will and the right policy decisions, the government can turn the tide on extreme inequality and ensure a more prosperous and equal future for all Indonesians. To close the gap between the rich and the rest, the government should take the following actions. Inequality ã Develop a national plan to show clearly how it will tackle inequality and reach itstargets to reduce the Gini coefficient, including between urban and rural areas. ã Ensure that local governments commit to reduce inequality. Fair work and wages ã Set out a roadmap to deliver a living wage, ensure that it is enforced, and further explore the idea of an ASEAN living wage. ã Regulate companies to ensure that more workers are on secure employmentcontracts. ã Close the gender pay gap and remove barriers to women’s equal participation in the labour force. Work with civil society to promote positive social norms and attitudes around women’s work. Tax ã Increase the tax-to-GDP ratio to reach Indonesia’s maximum tax potential . This is  4 estimated to be 21.5 percent by the IMF. Do this by adding a higher-rate tax band at the top of the personal income tax system; launching a review of wealth taxation with the aim of increasing property taxation for the highest value properties; increasing inheritance tax and introducing a net wealth tax; and developing a national action plan to tackle tax avoidance and evasion. ã  Refrain f  rom engaging in a ‘race to the bottom’ on corporate taxation by maintaining corporate tax rates, refraining from offering harmful tax incentives, and working at the regional level on tax cooperation with other ASEAN countries. Public spending ã  Building on the strides made towards universal health coverage through the JKN national health insurance scheme, improve equitable access to healthcare by scrapping all premiums for health services and moving to an entirely tax-funded national health system. Double health expenditure to at least 2.2 percent GDP. Work towards increasing this spending to at least 3 percent GDP on health in the coming years. ã  Increase education spending to 4 percent of GDP in the short term. Extend compulsory education to 12 years. Conduct a review to assess the continuing barriers to poorer students in accessing secondary education, and launch a three year plan to urgently address these barriers. ã  Introduce more and higher-quality vocational training, by using increased tax financing to allocate 10  – 20 percent of the education budget to vocational training. Gender ã  Systematically analyse proposed policies for their impact on women and girls. Expand current gender budgeting processes and provide support for women’s rights organizations to engage in decision making processes on public spending. ã  Commit to initiatives that reduce gender inequality across society, including addressing harmful social norms, supporting women’s leadership and decision  making power and ending violence against women and girls. The private sector should also play its role in reducing inequality, and businesses should take the following actions: ã  Publish data on their own gender pay gaps; ã  Ensure access to decent and safe employment opportunities for women; ã  Employ workers on secure employment contracts; ã  Support government action towards a national living wage and institute policies to move towards a living wage within their operations; ã  Invest in the skills of employees to meet the need for higher-skilled workers; ã  Provide on-the-job training, paid apprenticeships and placements, with corresponding professional certification and recognition; ã  Engage with local government to ensure that local training centres provide training that matches market requirements.
Recommended
View more...
We Need Your Support
Thank you for visiting our website and your interest in our free products and services. We are nonprofit website to share and download documents. To the running of this website, we need your help to support us.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

No, Thanks