Sri Mulyani Indrawati makes a speech at the International Conference on the Future of Asia in Tokyo May 24, 2013. Photo: Reuters, Toru Hanai

Indonesia’s minister of finance Sri Mulyani Indrawati says that the country needs to prepare for possible protectionism, including from the US, and strengthen its domestic economy. Speaking to the Financial Times, she said that the country needs to work on infrastructure, education and health.

The country is reportedly planning to begin or complete construction on 55 seaports, 13 airports and 550 railway projects this year alone. Jakarta will need to borrow US$30 billion, US$6 from international creditors, to finance the extra spending.

Indrawati says that “President Jokowi is always comparing us with China. He always says that China can build 1,000km of roads easily, so why can’t we”

The finance minister points out one reason herself in reference to chronic delays: “We have a democratic system, so people can go to the courts.”