Indonesia's cost-cutting leader slashes travel funds

Joko Widodo, Indonesia's president.
Dimas Ardian | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Joko Widodo, Indonesia's president.

Days after flying economy class to his son's graduation in Singapore, Indonesia's president said on Monday he will slash the travel budget for his cabinet to free up funds for desperately needed reforms in Southeast Asia's biggest economy.

The move is the latest in a series of cost-cutting measures that President Joko Widodo has implemented in his first month as president.

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Widodo last week raised fuel prices by more than 30 percent, saving the government around $11.5 billion in subsidies, or 9 percent of budgetary spending next year.

Widodo, who has also taken steps to bolster tax collection, said he would cut the cabinet's travel and meeting budget next year to 25 trillion rupiah ($2.06 billion) from 41 trillion.

"As we can see, business travelling and meeting up to today is only 22 trillion (rupiah). So 25 trillion is more than enough," Widodo told reporters after meeting governors at the presidential palace.

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"We will discuss with the governors on where we can use the savings."

On Friday, Widodo decided against using the presidential jet to attend his son's graduation ceremony in Singapore. Instead, he flew economy class on national carrier Garuda Airlines, winning praise on social media for his "humility".