By various performance indicators, the Indonesian services sector ranks below those of its main ASEAN neighbours. This is concerning for Indonesia, given the the increased attention worldwide on the services sector as a likely source of growth, the contribution of the services sector to the competitiveness of other sectors, and the opportunities available for capturing the gains from innovation and change in services. There is scope, we argue, to increase the number of formal jobs in the sector and to dispel its reputation as the employer of last resort. We find that a restrictive policy regime contributes to the sector’s poor performance, leading to an argument for reform. We discuss a potential strategy for such reform, focusing on four factors: increasing transparency and policy information; capturing the opportunities from international commitments; and exploring the potential of, one, new technology, and, two, urbanisation.
- policy reform
- services sector