Jokowi orders cabinet to prepare ‘super priority’ tax, job bills

Jokowi pledged to lower corporate taxes and make it easier for companies to hire and fire employees. (Twitter pic/jokowi)

JAKARTA: Indonesian President Joko Widodo ordered his cabinet to finish drafting two bills to overhaul the country’s labour and tax laws, key legislation aimed at attracting foreign investors into Southeast Asia’s largest economy.

The president, commonly known as Jokowi, wants the bills readied by this week to meet a target of submitting them to the parliament within the first 100 days of his second term that began Oct 20, he told a cabinet meeting in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Jokowi, who’s pledged to lower corporate taxes and make it easier for companies to hire and fire employees, has already missed several deadlines to get the bills to the parliament.

The government and lawmakers last year agreed to include the so-called omnibus bills on taxation and job creation in parliament’s “super priority list” for 2020.

The revision to the tax law will gradually lower the corporate tax level from 25% to 20% to make Indonesia’s economy more competitive and encourage investment, according to officials.

The labour law overhaul will aim to synchronise hundreds of rules governing employees, often cited as a major impediment by foreign companies.

But the country’s labour unions have already voiced concerns about sweeping changes to labour law and have called for a nationwide protest, including in front of the parliament building in Jakarta, on Jan 20.