Indonesia: President Joko Widodo allays concerns over new tax amnesty scheme

President guarantees that the government will not use the information to prosecute anyone.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said the new tax amnesty system will strictly protect the confidentiality of the submitted information and that those who leak the information will have to face a five-year jail term.

He also guaranteed that the government will not use the information to prosecute anyone.

Jokowi made these remarks during his first road show to promote the new tax amnesty. In front of a gathering of 2,700 entrepreneurs in Surabaya, East Java, he declared that the proceeds from the programme will be utilized in funding the infrastructure development, which in turn will help in the growth of the economy.

He said that in the next 5 years, Indonesia needs to roll out infrastructure projects worth 4,900 trillion rupiah (S$504 billion) although the state budget can finance only a third of this cost.

"Those with their money at home may declare it, while if parked overseas they may bring them home. This is a chance for everyone to contribute to the nation," Jokowi told The Straits Times.

According to him, attracting inflows of funds is one of the biggest competitions among the countries that "the recent passage of the tax amnesty law came timely".

He warned the errant tax payers to come clean saying that "this opportunity will never come again as tax amnesty will not be repeated".

Finance Ministry Secretary General Hadiyanto said that the new tax amnesty scheme will start on Monday. The taxes will range from 2 percent to 10 percent once the scheme takes effect. But this entire range will depend on how promptly individuals declare their previously untaxed assets and whether the funds are repatriated to Indonesia.

Indonesia has high hopes on the landmark tax amnesty and expects that it will recover billions of dollars lost over decades to widespread tax evasion and also in assets which are hidden overseas by wealthy citizens and businesses.

The country's Finance Ministry will work closely with Indonesian embassies in Singapore, Hong Kong and other countries to promote the amnesty scheme to the Indonesian diaspora overseas.