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Tax Reformer Leaves Indonesian Government

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

07 May 2010

It has been confirmed that Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Indonesia’s Minister of Finance since 2005, has been appointed as a Managing Director of the World Bank Group from June 1, a move that could potentially stymie efforts towards tax reform in the country.

“I am delighted to announce the appointment of Sri Mulyani Indrawati. She has been an outstanding Finance Minister with in-depth knowledge of both development issues and the role of the World Bank Group,” said the World Bank’s President, Robert B. Zoellick. “As a member of the senior team she will play a key role in helping to lead the Bank as we move to strengthen client support, implement our reform program, and anticipate future challenges.”

As the World Bank’s press release announcing the appointment pointed out, “Sri Mulyani Indrawati has guided economic policy for one of the largest countries in Southeast Asia, navigating successfully in the midst of the global economic crisis, implementing key reforms, and earning the respect of her peers across the world.”

She has received numerous honours and awards, including Euromoney Magazine's Global Finance Minister of the Year, and Emerging Markets’ Best Finance Minister in Asia. She has also been regularly on Forbes’ List of the 100 Most Powerful Women. As Robert Zoeliick added: “She has received global recognition for her success in combating corruption and strengthening good governance.”

It has, in fact, been commented that her move from Indonesia will be a great loss to the Indonesian government as she had been instrumental in pushing through a tax reform agenda, particularly in making structural improvements to the administration of the country’s tax and customs offices, in order to raise tax collections and enforce the rules against tax evaders.

Indonesia’s President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has not yet appointed a successor to Sri Mulyani Indrawati. His choice is being widely anticipated in that it will provide an indicator of whether her reform drive is to be continued.

TAGS: tax | law | Indonesia | tax reform

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