JAKARTA, June 24 (Reuters) - Indonesia's parliament will
push back deliberating a bill seeking to widen the central
bank's mandate until at least the end of 2021, as other
legislation is prioritised, lawmakers on a commission overseeing
the process told Reuters.
Lawmakers have been considering revisions to Bank
Indonesia's (BI) role since last year, including at one stage a
plan for a monetary board to give government ministers a say in
determining monetary policy.
The latest version of the bill no longer has such a
provision, but does call for BI's mandate to be expanded to
promote economic growth and employment, on top of price
stability, and for greater scope to buy bonds during a crisis.
The proposals have raised unease in financial markets amid
fears they could undermine the autonomy of BI, even as President
Joko Widodo and BI Governor Perry Warjiyo have assured that the
central bank will remain independent.
The "financial sector's omnibus bill", which also includes
measures to strengthen monitoring of banking, was previously set
for debate in August, according to state news agency Antara.
Five lawmakers in a finance commission said discussion will
be pushed back to make way for bills on taxation and fiscal
"The finance sector's omnibus law will be discussed ...
after Commission XI finishes the two other bills," Fathan
Subchi, deputy chair of the commission, told Reuters, adding
that debate on the omnibus bill is not expected to start until
the year's last sitting session in November.
Another lawmaker, M. Misbakhun, said the bill will "very
likely" not going to be discussed until next year.
Indonesia's parliament often takes months, if not years, to
pass a bill and the tax bill due for deliberation includes
controversial provisions such as hiking value added tax rates
and a tax amnesty programme.
A finance ministry spokesperson declined to comment on the
Wellian Wiranto, an economist at OCBC, said postponing
deliberation was not necessarily a bad thing since it could give
lawmakers more time to consider the bill's proposed changes.
"Of course, if markets do react less positively to some
aspects of the changes, it would present an extra layer of
challenges to the authorities," he said, noting the U.S.
monetary stimulus withdrawal may begin next year, which could
make markets more volatile.
(Writing by Gayatri Suroyo
Editing by Ed Davies)