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ALEX BRUMMER: Rishi can’t afford to start dishing out the goodies



ALEX BRUMMER: Rishi can’t afford to start dishing out the goodies


The Government’s borrowing requirement is the difference between two very big numbers. That is what the Treasury raises in taxes and Whitehall spends.

As the economy roars back to life, revenues are surging and the Government collected £62.2billion of receipts in June, up £9.5billion on the same month last year. 

Income and corporation tax revenues jumped and VAT receipts were 22 per cent higher than a year ago as consumers went shopping.

ALEX BRUMMER: Rishi can’t afford to start dishing out the goodies

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is looking at ways to save money. After the cut in overseas aid, the triple lock for the state pension could be in danger

Central government spending was £2.5billion higher than last June. But it fell £24.1billion over the first quarter and remains £5.5billion below the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast.

A combination of a more robust economy than expected, and shrinking Covid and other spending, suggests that the OBR may have been too cautious in its March Budget projections. 

There may be a case for revising up its medium-term growth forecast in the autumn.

The improvement can flatter to deceive. The national debt crept up to 99.7 per cent of the economy’s total output in June and the cost of servicing that debt is climbing.

Rishi Sunak cannot afford to pocket the unexpected gains and start dishing out the goodies. 

To the contrary, the Chancellor is looking at ways to save money. After the cut in overseas aid, the triple lock for the state pension could be in danger.

There remains the possibility of a 1 per cent increase in National Insurance to fund the backlog at the NHS and fix social care costs.

The fly in the ointment is the cost of borrowing. The rise in the retail prices index has raised the bill for servicing inflation-linked bonds. 

The Bank of England’s bond-buying programme helped the Government to expand the fiscal envelope in the pandemic. 

Fund raising in the age of Covid has shortened debt maturities so invoices are arriving more quickly. 

Money printing has also made the stock of debt much more sensitive to even small changes in market interest rates. 

The OBR points out that in June alone, the debt interest bill climbed to £8.7billion, which is the highest monthly payment on record stretching back to 1998.

Labour’s then chancellor Gordon Brown used to boast (before the financial crisis hit) that by bringing the budget close to balance, he was saving the taxpayer billions of pounds in interest charges.

One fears that the changed profile of public debt means that Sunak has little chance of repeating the trick.

Many lobbyists with their hands out, such as welfare groups seeking to make the temporary £20 increase in Universal Credit permanent, could be knocked back.

Bridge building

After the setback for Deliveroo in London and Soho House-owner Membership Collective Group in New York, the bright reception for Bridgepoint on the London Stock Exchange will come as a relief.

This paper is critical of those private equity firms which load companies up with debt and slash and burn behind closed doors. 

It would be good to think that Bridgepoint is different, preferring to develop and invest in business rather than defenestrate.

It operates at a different level to titans such as Blackstone, KKR and Fortress and hopefully the float – which placed a value of £3.6billion on the company founded by William Jackson – will provide greater openness. 

Nevertheless, one cannot but think that it missed an opportunity to tap into a new community of retail investors by failing to reach out directly to customers at Itsu, Burger King UK and elsewhere.

The initial public offering is a plus for London, and if it encourages other private equity groups to jump into a nascent investment sector, where public disclosure is the key, all the better.

The deal offers Jackson and colleagues the chance to realise some cash and unlocks a tidy war chest.

It will be fascinating to see if the good-guys rhetoric matches the actions.

Sinking sun

Pity the 60 Japanese firms that have piled £2.4billion into the ghostly Tokyo Olympics. Toyota has pulled its local commercials. 

Among the other backers is booze giant Asahi, but the stadium bars will be empty and pubs are under an 8pm curfew.

As for sportswear brand Asics, hoping to challenge Nike and Adidas, sponsorship is unlikely to deliver any gold. 

A sporting miracle may be needed to overcome Covid cases in the athletes village and dissonance among the public and on the Nikkei.

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Iman Rachman Appreciates the PROPAMI Program for Strengthening Professionalism



Iman Rachman Appreciates the PROPAMI Program for Strengthening Professionalism
Photo: PROPAMI management meeting with Iman Rachman, Main Director of BEI, at the Sudirman SCBD Exchange Building (22/1/24). (Doc.Ist)

The Indonesian Capital Market Professional Association (PROPAMI) held a friendly meeting with the Indonesian Stock Exchange (BEI) at the Exchange Building, SCBD Sudirman (22/1/24).

This event is an important momentum to introduce the PROPAMI management for the 2023-2026 period and discuss collaboration programs with Self-Regulatory Organizations (SRO).

NS. Aji Martono, General Chair of PROPAMI expressed his hope to be able to carry out useful and useful activities for PROPAMI members by collaborating.

SRO, as an organization that has the authority to make binding regulations that its members must follow, plays a central role in regulating activities in the Indonesian capital market.

There are three SROs in the Indonesian capital market structure, namely the Indonesian Stock Exchange (BEI), Indonesian Securities Clearing and Guarantee (KPEI), and the Indonesian Central Securities Depository (KSEI).

Iman Rachman, Main Director of BEI, gave a positive response to PROPAMI’s programs.

He emphasized the importance of synergy and collaboration which continues to be improved in an effort to strengthen the capital markets industry.

Furthermore, Iman Rachman stated the need for harmonious communication between PROPAMI and BEI to increase the professionalism of industry players.

This meeting reflects a shared enthusiasm to advance the Indonesian capital markets industry through strong cooperation between professional organizations and regulatory institutions.

By focusing on strengthening industry and professionalism, it is hoped that these steps will have a positive impact on the growth of the country’s capital market.

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Corruption Perception Index Drops, LSP KPK and BNSP Commit to Improving Certification Quality



Corruption Perception Index Drops, LSP KPK and BNSP Commit to Improving Certification Quality
Photo: Chairman of BNSP, Syamsi Hari, welcoming the LSP KPK Working Visit in an effort to improve anti-corruption competency standards. (18/1/24).(Doc.BNSP)

Telegraf – The National Professional Certification Agency (BNSP) visited the Corruption Eradication Commission Professional Certification Institute (LSP KPK), Jakarta (18/1/24).

This working visit highlights the brilliant achievements in the last 7 years, especially in the Anti-Corruption Counseling Certification program.

Great hopes are now becoming more real, considering the significant decline in the 2019-2022 Indonesian Corruption Perception Index.

LSP KPK is committed to continuing to improve the quality of Competency Test Materials for more than 4,000 assessees who have received certification.

This step is based on KPK Regulation Number 2 of 2021 concerning the Implementation of Indonesian National Work Competency Standards (SKKNI) in the Anti-Corruption Sector.

By implementing 7 Certification Schemes, LSP KPK proves its full commitment to building an effective system.

These schemes include:

  1. First Anti-Corruption Instructor (Basic)
  2. Young Anti-Corruption Instructor (Primary)
  3. Intermediate Anti-Corruption Instructor
  4. Main Anti-Corruption Educator
  5. Young Integrity Building Expert
  6. Executive Integrity Building Expert
  7. Integrity Builder Expert

BNSP Chairman Syamsi Hari expressed high appreciation for the efforts of the KPK LSP in improving competency standards in the field of anti-corruption.

“This step not only provides certification to individuals, but also participates in efforts to build integrity and eradicate corruption in Indonesia,” he said.

Firm and competent action in eradicating corruption is the main key, and the KPK LSP emphasizes its commitment with its motto

“Brave, Competent, Awesome.”

The certification schemes that have been implemented reflect concrete efforts to achieve these goals.

It is hoped that holders of this certification can become agents of change who are able to have a positive impact in efforts to eradicate corruption.

This step full of courage, competence and prowess is in line with the spirit of eradicating corruption which is Indonesia’s main focus.

It is hoped that this working visit will not only be a momentum for evaluating achievements, but also an inspiration for other institutions to follow in the footsteps of the KPK LSP’s success in building an effective certification system that has a positive impact on society.

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Green Jobs Initiative Gains Momentum in Indonesia as BNSP Takes Active Role



Green Jobs Initiative Gains Momentum in Indonesia as BNSP Takes Active Role
Photo: BNSP Commissioner Prof Amilin, Syamsi Hari (Chairman) NS Aji Martono, Adi Mahfudz. (Doc.BNSP)

BNSP Chairman Syamsi Hari Highlights the Significance of Green Economy Implementation for Future Job Landscape

Telegraf In response to the growing global trend of Green Economy implementation, Syamsi Hari, Chairman of the National Professional Certification Agency (BNSP), recognizes the emergence of new job opportunities on the horizon, Jakarta, (11/1/24).

This aligns with the sentiments expressed by Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai in 2020, who predicted the creation of over 20,000 new jobs in the clean energy sector by 2025 due to climate-related projects.

In light of this, Syamsi Hari has delegated Commissioner Amilin to attend the kick-off meeting for the Green Jobs Social Inclusion and Sustainable Transformation (GESIT) project. The meeting, hosted by Mahatmi Parwitasari Saronto, Director of Manpower at the Ministry of National Development Planning (PPN)/Bappenas, took place on January 8, 2024.

The global push for Green Economy implementation seeks to minimize carbon emissions, a sentiment echoed in Indonesia through the Green Jobs initiative. The program, developed in collaboration with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) and Innovation and Investment for Inclusive Sustainable Economic Development (ISED), aligns with Germany’s multinational commitment to various sectors in over 130 countries.

The international Green Jobs project, currently experiencing a boom, is set to span four years in Indonesia, from July 2023 to June 2027. The focus is on addressing climate change and environmental issues, leading to the creation of numerous jobs as a consequence of the Green Economy implementation.

The GESIT project, in line with Indonesia’s Vision 2045, aims to create high-quality, productive, and competitive Green Jobs to support the development of a green economy. The initiative is coordinated by the Ministry of National Development Planning/Bappenas, in collaboration with the German Federal Ministry, GIZ, and active participation from BNSP.

BNSP’s active involvement in the Green Jobs for Social Inclusion and Sustainable Transformation project includes the preparation of competency certification programs. This ensures that individuals working in Green Jobs are thoroughly tested and competent, contributing to the overall success of the initiative.

Among the attendees at the kick-off meeting were representatives from various ministries, GIZ GESIT, International organizations such as the World Bank, International Labour Organization (ILO), UN PAGE, and UNIDO. The collaborative effort signifies a step towards a sustainable and inclusive future in Indonesia’s job market.

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Realizing the Tri Dharma of Higher Education, Faculty of Law at Bhayangkara University Conducts Criminal Mediation Counseling Based on Local Wisdom



Realizing the Tri Dharma of Higher Education, Faculty of Law at Bhayangkara University Conducts Criminal Mediation Counseling Based on Local Wisdom
Lecturers Dr. Joko Sriwidodo, SH.MH.Mkn.CLA, Dr. RR.Dijan Widijowati, SH.MH, and Dr. Dwi Andayani Budi Setyowati, SH. MH., Prof. Juanda, SH.MH., and Dr. Yeni Febrianti SH, MH. provide counselling. The Faculty of Law at Bhayangkara University (Ubhara) Jabodetabek held legal counseling to the community in Lubang Buaya District, Setu, Bekasi Regency, West Java.

FH Ubhara Jakarta Raya lecturers who appeared in the counseling included, Dr. RR.Dijan Widijowati, SH.MH, Dr.Joko Sriwidodo, SH.MH.Mkn.CLA, Dr. Dwi Andayani Budi Setyowati, SH. MH., Prof. Dr. Juanda, SH.MH., and Dr. Yeni Febrianti SH,MH.

Telegraf – In line with the commitment to fulfill the Tri Dharma of Higher Education, professors and students from the Faculty of Law at Bhayangkara University (Ubhara) in Jakarta organized a legal counseling event for the community in Lubang Buaya, Setu, Bekasi Regency, West Java.

The event, themed “Implementation of Criminal Mediation as an Effort for Crime Resolution Based on Local Wisdom,” took place at the Lubang Buaya Subdistrict Office, Setu, Bekasi Regency, on Tuesday, May 16, 2023.

The Faculty of Law at Bhayangkara University Jakarta Raya assigned several senior law professors to engage in community service activities in Bekasi Regency.

Among the professors from Ubhara Jakarta Raya who participated in the counseling were Dr. RR.Dijan Widijowati, SH.MH, Dr. Joko Sriwidodo, SH.MH.Mkn.CLA, Dr. Dwi Andayani Budi Setyowati, SH. MH., Prof.Dr. Juanda, SH.MH., and Dr. Yeni Febrianti SH, MH.

Dr. Slamet Pribadi, SH.MH., the Dean of the Faculty of Law at Bhayangkara University Jakarta Raya, expressed his satisfaction with the community service activities conducted by several law professors.

According to Dr. Slamet Pribadi SH.MH., these community service activities are continuously being carried out. He hopes that in the future, his leadership at the Faculty of Law will intensify efforts to achieve Excellent accreditation.

During his presentation, Dr. Joko Sriwidodo, SH.MH.M.Kn., as the speaker, emphasized that the mediation of criminal cases must meet specific requirements, primarily material conditions.

“Among them are not causing public unrest or rejection, the existence of statements from the parties involved, not being a repeat offender, not involving terrorism, and not a severe type of violation,” said Dr. Joko Sriwidodo during his presentation to the attendees on Tuesday, May 16, 2023.

Furthermore, Dr. Joko Sriwidodo stated that the resolution of criminal mediation also requires fulfilling formal conditions. Firstly, there must be a letter of peace request from both parties (reporter and reported). Secondly, a statement of the peace agreement (conciliation deed). Thirdly, the offender must acknowledge their mistake and not object to compensation or do so voluntarily.

Fourthly, all criminal acts can undergo restorative justice for common crimes that do not result in human victims. And fifthly, the perpetrator must acknowledge that they will not repeat the offense, and forgiveness from the victim is involved.

Dr. Joko Sriwidodo, as part of the Community Service Team focusing on criminal law, clearly emphasized that criminal mediation, with a focus on local wisdom, has many benefits compared to the general application of the law.

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LSP-PM: Building the Future of Indonesia’s Capital Market through Professional Certification



LSP-PM: Building the Future of Indonesia’s Capital Market through Professional Certification

Telegraf – The capital market is a vital and rapidly growing sector in Indonesia. To ensure its sustainability and success, it requires high-quality and trained human resources. Therefore, the Capital Market Professional Certification Institute (LSP-PM) plays a significant role in providing competency certification for professionals in the capital market.

On Thursday, May 11, 2023, LSP-PM held a graduation ceremony for certified professionals in the capital market. The event was attended by approximately 150 graduates from seven fields of competence in the capital market: securities analysts, technical analysts, risk management, investment banking, equity sales, and professional competency assessors.

The graduation ceremony was attended by various prominent figures, including Ir. Afriansyah Noor, M.Si, as Deputy Minister of Labor of the Republic of Indonesia (Wamenaker), Rizal Azhari, a representative from the Financial Services Authority (OJK Institut) Risa, Director of Finance at the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) Kunjung Nasehat, Chair of the National Professional Certification Board (BNSP) NS Aji Martono, Chairman of the Indonesian Capital Market Association (PROPAMI) as well as David Setyanto who gave a speech at the Professional Certification of the Capital Market graduation ceremony with the theme “Building the Future of Indonesia’s Capital Market”.

In his opening remarks, Deputy Minister of Labor of the Republic of Indonesia (Wamenaker) Afriansyah Noor emphasized the importance of improving skills through education and training that have specific specifications to meet future industry needs. LSP-PM as a professional certification institution in the capital market has produced hundreds of graduates who have the necessary skills and intellect to assist national investments, especially in the capital market.

According to Haryajid, the CEO of LSP-PM, the institution has provided competency certification to more than 14,000 professionals in the capital market and finance sectors. These professionals work in various industries within the capital market, such as state-owned enterprises, publicly listed companies, universities, and other financial institutions. The capital market professional certification organized by LSP-PM is a national-level certification, and its competency standards are registered in the Ministry of Labor of the Republic of Indonesia, and have obtained a license from the National Professional Certification Board (BNSP).

LSP-PM’s certification program for the capital market sector is essential as it provides a standardization of competency levels in various fields of expertise, thus enabling employers to assess potential candidates and verify their level of proficiency before employing them. Furthermore, it provides recognition to those who have achieved certification in their respective fields, allowing them to be more competitive in the job market.

The certification program is designed to be rigorous, requiring applicants to demonstrate their proficiency in their field of expertise. Through a series of tests, they are evaluated based on their knowledge, skills, and abilities, ensuring they have the necessary competencies to work in the capital market. The certification also requires participants to complete continuing education programs to maintain their competency levels.

As the capital market continues to grow, LSP-PM’s role in providing certified professionals will become increasingly vital. The institution’s certification program will contribute to improving the quality of human resources in the capital market and help build a brighter future for Indonesia’s capital market. Through its rigorous certification program, LSP-PM ensures that certified professionals are equipped with the skills and knowledge to navigate the complex and rapidly evolving world of the capital market.

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Did the West ‘Bring War’ to Ukraine? One Expert Makes the Case



Did the West ‘Bring War’ to Ukraine? One Expert Makes the Case
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, center right, meets residents of Bucha, near Kyiv, after Russian troops’ killing of civilians there in March. Ukrainians polled express strong support for his stance on the war. (Ukraine Presidential Office)

The seven-month war in Ukraine, and the role of NATO, especially the Atlanticist powers, are fueled by an official western narrative that depicts the conflict as one between the plucky little Ukrainian David and the brutish Goliath that is Russia. The invasion is as unwarranted as it is vicious and provides justification for a current tally of $57 billion in lethal and non-lethal aid from the United States alone, with the United Kingdom at its side.

The western print and broadcast media feed the narrative with daily reports of heroic Ukrainian resistance and Russian setbacks, of invading forces targeting civilians and using a captured nuclear facility as an instrument of war. In this environment, the issue of how all this came about, the root causes of deadly conflict between two historically close neighbors, is in a state of deep freeze; but when the time comes for historical assessment Benjamin Abelow’s How the West Brought War to Ukraine will serve as an invaluable primer.

Abelow is both a researcher on international security and a medical professional, and his approach here is a clinical one.  While roundly condemning the invasion, he cites by way of context a litany of western insults to Russia over the past thirty years.  For those who have followed the trajectory of the war, these are familiar, but missing from the mainstream narrative: NATO expansion by 1000 miles to Russia’s borders, despite assurances to the contrary to the late Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, and culminating in the statement at the 2008 NATO conference in Bucharest that Ukraine and Georgia were on track for membership; unilateral US renunciation of the anti-ballistic missile and intermediate nuclear forces treaty, followed by placement of ‘defensive’ systems [capable of conversion to offensive mode] in eastern European NATO states; provocatively aggressive joint NATO military exercises on land and in the Black Sea.

Abelow cites a blue-ribbon group of diplomats, scholars, policy experts and senior military figures—including former US Ambassador to the USSR Jack Matlock, the distinguished US diplomat Chas Freeman, University of Chicago political scientist John Mearsheimer, the British scholar Richard Sakwa and former US army colonel and Trump Pentagon adviser Douglas Macgregor, all deeply critical of the West’s role in the Ukraine conflict. Perhaps the best single illustration of expert condemnation came from George Kennan, the very architect of containment of the Soviet Union on NATO expansion: “a tragic mistake…..The beginning of a new cold war.’  at very least, NATO actions since the cold war’s end have given the lie to continuing and expanding the alliance as ‘a great zone of peace.”

The author then posits a “shoe on the other foot scenario”: How would we have reacted if the Soviet-led Warsaw pact had prevailed in the Cold War and had not only proceeded to embrace European NATO members but to establish a military presence in Canada and Mexico? This raises a related issue: the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 enshrined the Americas as an inviolable sphere of influence for the US, one that we have regularly invoked in military-political interventions in central and south America. Yet we have denied the right to such a strategic interest in its neighborhood to Russia; our justified self-interest is Russia’s menacing meddling.

Two chapters follow on the general theme of policy missteps [“Russophobia policymakers double down on past mistakes”]  this ‘who’s to blame” theme is basically an elaboration of what has gone before—the myopic failure by the US and its NATO allies to understand the depth of Russian animus over expansion, especially with respect to Ukraine and Georgia. The most revealing testimony to this effect comes from Fiona Hill, a national intelligence officer in 2008, later on senior director for Europe and Russia on President Trump’s national security council, who acknowledges “terrible mistakes.”  Here we may also add the warnings of the US ambassador to Russia at that time, William Burns, who spoke unambiguously of admission of Ukraine and Georgia as ‘the reddest of red lines [for Putin]……nyet means nyet.”

A major strength of Abelow’s argument is his treatment not only of the ongoing conflict but of the possible knock-on catastrophic consequences.  Most obviously, the current limited  proxy war with Russia in Ukraine may explode into a regional conflict or beyond.  Episodes such as the sinking of the Russian warship Moskva in the Black Sea with the loss of forty sailors, and the reported targeted killings of twelve Russian generals, on top of the copious flow of lethal and nonlethal aid from the us and its allies to the Ukrainian side—the us tally alone is $57 billion and counting—are plausible accelerants.

Abelow notes the contradiction in two stated objectives of us support for Ukraine: first, that of enabling Ukraine to mount a robust defense—a humanitarian intervention; second, and emphasized in repeated bulletins from the Biden administration, the intent to “cripple” Russia not only in the current conflict but in any future [unspecified] military adventurism.  This, far from offering protection to Ukraine, guarantees that the war will drag on, with ever greater levels of death and destruction.  It has also led to both Russia and the us on hair-trigger launch policy, raising the specter of two equally catastrophic “next steps”: a grievously wounded Russia lashing out – as Abelow notes, Russia’s Foreign Minister Lavrov has threatened as much – or, accidental or inadvertent nuclear action by, for instance, computer error (false alarms have occurred before, in much less fraught times).

This compelling counter-narrative should surely stimulate further articulation of themes Abelow merely touches on.  To list just a few:  first, one tragic lesson of the war is that, for the present at least, Ukraine in nato is a chimera; Ukrainian President Zelenskiy recognized as much shortly after the invasion with his rueful reflection that “NATO let us down by not letting us in.”  Who knows what madness may yet reverse this, but the fact is that had one nato member leader—perhaps Macron—simply quashed the idea of Ukrainian membership the conflict might have been averted.  Second, Russia cannot help but associate American involvement in the war with the threat of regime change; consider events this century in Kiev, Tbilisi, Bishkek—not to mention Baghdad, Tripoli, and a clear intent in Damascus—along with statements from members of the us congress and the executive branch, and it is hardly fanciful to think of Moscow as the ultimate trophy, raising further the prospect of a preemptive response by Russia. Third, within Ukraine itself, why did Zelenskiy, like Poroschenko before him, do a volte face from an election pledge to pursue positive relations with Russia? Threats from domestic ultranationalist forces have been floated, and were there outside voices of discouragement?

Finally, there is a growing pile of evidence of censorship in the western media of any attempt to question the official narrative.  Why?  If it is as demonstrably accurate as claimed, why fear skeptical questioning?  The most recent instance of this is CBS news’s stifling of an investigative report into diversions of arms from western sources finding their way, not to the front lines in Ukraine, but to black markets in Europe and the Middle East.  As an ironic footnote to this, and for whatever reason, Abelow has learned that Amazon has uncharacteristically refused to allow him sponsored product advertisements on their platform—an important marketing tool given the immense volume of books.

Like the war itself, these questions will persist.  For now, the last word fittingly belongs to Benjamin Abelow: “False narratives lead to bad outcomes.”


This article was produced by Globetrotter in partnership with the American Committee for U.S.-Russia Accord.

David C. Speedie, a board member of ACURA, was the former chair on International Peace and Security at Carnegie Corporation.

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