REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA -- Indonesia hopes the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) can become a forum that will empower small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and make them contribute more to boosting economic growth.
"We need to empower SMEs. Through this forum new economic players of smaller sizes are expected to be created and could be facilitated. It is hoped the forum can produce many ideas, increase efficiency and offer an opportunity for business players to improve their competitiveness and understand their businesses better," Indonesia's Finance Minister Sri Mulyani said while closing the event here on Thursday.
She said the WIEF forum, which is based on the theme of "Decentralizing Growth and Empowering Future Business," discusses the role of SMEs in detail.
She further said SMEs not only boost economic growth, but also create jobs. "I think the emphasis is on decentralizing growth, meaning that growth must not be centered on one location, but should spread in many places and cover many businesspeople. So, inclusivity is very important" the former World Bank Director said.
With regards to developing businesses in the future given the current trend is very important in terms of production and technology, where shifts are taking place with regards to consumers' demand, Sri said.
She also underlined the importance of synergy between established industries and SMEs to make them complimentary and contributive to growth.
"Developing innovation and connecting SMEs with established industries will not only open more business opportunities but also create inclusivity," she said.
Sri pointed out that SMEs are the backbone of Indonesia's economy as around 99 percent of businesses in the country are SMEs, with 98 percent of them being dominated by micro-businesses.
SMEs in Indonesia employ more than 107.6 million people and contribute 60.6 percent of the country's gross domestic product.
With SMEs? development, the economy that used to be dominated big multinational companies, could now lead to the empowerment of small businesses assuring more people's participation in economic growth for strengthening the domestic economy.
The Indonesian government has announced economic policies to stimulate growth, including easing licensing procedures for SMEs and revising the Negative List of Investment to open 19 sub-sectors for SMEs and cooperatives and 62 other sectors for foreign investors who wish to cooperate with SMEs.