Indonesia’s Finance Minister to Asharq Al-Awsat: Pertamina in Talks with Aramco over Cilacap Refinery Upgrade
Calling to boost economic cooperation between Jakarta and Riyadh, Indonesia’s Finance Minister Sri Mulyani revealed that negotiations for upgrading and expanding the Cilacap refinery are ongoing between the state-owned Pertamina and the Saudi oil giant, Aramco.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat on the sidelines of the G20 finance ministers meeting, Mulyani voiced her anticipation for growing investment and trade between Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.
“Saudi Arabia and Indonesia enjoy strong bilateral relations, as the two countries have historically close ties, especially since the Kingdom was one of the first countries to recognize the independence of Indonesia,” she said.
Noting that Indonesia and Saudi Arabia share vital economic, trade and investment fields such as Halal manufacture, Mulyani emphasized that there are many promising opportunities for cooperation.
“A clear growth is expected in bilateral ties, in addition to the increase in investment flows and the high flow of capital from Saudi Arabia to Indonesia,” the finance minister added.
It is noteworthy that the political will needed to strengthen cooperation between the two countries is present under the rule of King Salman Bin Abdulaziz and Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
In April 2019, Widodo visited Saudi Arabia. The trip that focused on economic cooperation, especially in the energy and tourism fields.
According to Mulyani, Widodo discussed Aramco’s investments in the Cilacap refinery in Central Java.
“In short, Indonesia hopes for increasing investment and trade with Saudi Arabia,” Mulyani said.
Despite saying that economic relations are strong, Mulyani pointed out that more efforts are needed to reinforce trade and investment. This comes in light of reports showing that investment and trade flow between the countries have recently regressed.
“Business processes show that transactional relations between the two parties declined by 8.5%. In the field of investment, the Kingdom’s ranking among the list of foreign investors in Indonesia fell to 42nd, after it was ranked 40th in 2018, with a small contribution rate that does not exceed 0.02% ($ 5.4 million) of direct foreign investment in Indonesia,” Mulyani noted.
Speaking about the financial and economic reforms implemented in Saudi Arabia, Mulyani said: “The Saudi government continues to introduce and implement wide-ranging economic and social reforms within the framework of the "Kingdom's Vision 2030", as this vision is very important for the position of Saudi Arabia as a global economic player.”
“Certainly, the commitment to implement these broad reforms will help achieve Saudi financial goals and encourage non-oil growth,” she added.