JAKARTA, Jan 26 (Reuters): Indonesia is formulating incentives for exporters to keep their foreign exchange earnings onshore for at least three months, the chief economics minister has announced.
Minister Airlangga Hartarto said the government will offer "competitive" interest rates for exporters that deposit their FX earnings in local banks.
"We have to make [interest rates] competitive compared to Singapore, so that [FX earnings] won't flow to Singapore," he said, referring to the city-state's appeal as a regional financial hub. He did not provide details on the proposed rates or the timeline of implementation.
He added the proposed minimum holding period is three months in Indonesia's financial system.
When asked about the rationale behind the three-month holding period, Airlangga said the country needs a buffer to weather risks, including a possible global economic slowdown this year.
"We need enough [US dollars] to finance our exports and imports," he added.
The minister said the incentives will be laid out in a revision of a 2019 regulation that mandated exporters of natural resources keep earnings in a special account at domestic banks.
Previously, he said revisions to the regulation also contained the possibility of applying the FX rules to exporters in the manufacturing sector, and more attractive tax incentives for exporters' special savings.
Aside from the government, Indonesia's central bank is also planning to launch a new monetary policy instrument aimed at providing exporters with better returns for domestic FX deposits, which could be launched next month. - Reuters