New Minister outlines priorities

Indonesia’s new Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Ignasius Jonan has outlined the ministry’s top priorities for the immediate future. For mining he says the priorities are on the issues of mineral concentrate exports, domestic smelter development and export taxes.

The new Minister said that his top priority in the energy sector would be to realise President Joko Widodo’s ambition of providing an extra 35,000MW of power over a five-year period ending 2019.

“Our priority program in the electricity sector is the 35,000MW program and electrification ratio of 90.15%,” he said in a statement, but did not provide details.

There have been concerns in Indonesia that the 35,000MW in power plant projects may not be entirely realised by 2019 due to a number of problems including land acquisition, funding issues and bureaucratic hurdles.

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Ignasius Jonan said in the oil and gas sector, the ministry’s top priority would be technology development and a ‘fair’ cost recovery system.

President Joko Widodo last week surprised most when he installed Ignasius Jonan, 53, as Minister and former holder of the role Arcandra Tahar as Vice Minister.

The new Minister was formerly CEO of state-owned railway firm PT Kereta Api Indonesia and served as Minister for Transportation before being replaced in a second round cabinet reshuffle in July. He was born in Singapore and studied economics at Surabaya’s Airlangga University and management at Tufts University in the US.

Arcandra Tahar was first appointed into the cabinet as Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources on August 15, but was dismissed by the President 20 days later following a dual US citizenship scandal. The Ministry of Human Rights and Justice granted him Indonesian citizenship status on September 1.

Born in West Sumatra, Arcandra Tahar studied at Bandung Institute of Technology before obtaining a PhD in Ocean Engineering from the University in Texas.

He lived in the US for 20 years and worked as a consultant at several international companies in the US.

Former Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Sudirman Said welcomed the appointment of the new Minister, saying it would provide a sense of certainty for players in the energy and mining industries.

“Almost all energy sector companies are long-term players, who require stability. Hopefully, the appointment of Pak Jonan will provide a message of stability to industry players, so that there will be certainty. All investments which have been put on hold can now be realised,” he said.