Indonesia's gross national savings per gross domestic product (GDP) remained stagnant according to a statement from the nation's Financial Services Authority (OJK) earlier this week. This indicates that Indonesian residents do not manage to save money, but rather focus on consumption. Based on data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Indonesia's gross national savings per GDP stood at 30.87 percent in 2015. For comparison, figures of Singapore and China stood at 46.73 percent and 48.87 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, Indonesian households only manage to save 8.5 percent, on average, of their total income. This is a very low ratio given most analysts advise that at least 20 percent of income should go towards savings. Those low-income Indonesian households only manage to save 5.2 percent of their total monthly income, while the high-income households save 12.6 percent on average.
For the low-income families it is difficult to save as they barely have enough income to cover their basic needs such as food and transportation costs. Moreover, Indonesia's economic slowdown in the years 2011-2015 (in combination with high inflation due to subsidized fuel price reforms in 2013-2015) has been an additional problem, limiting people's purchasing power.
Indonesia is also characterized by the low financial literacy of its population. Therefore, despite having a population that numbers over 255 million people, the number of saving accounts are actually relatively few. Based on data from the World Bank, only 36.1 percent of Indonesia’s adult population owned a bank account in 2014.
OJK Chairman Muliaman Hadad commented that these low ratios imply that it becomes more difficult for Indonesia to finance the nation's economic development. As such, a large part of financial means need to come from abroad. Problematically, third-party fund growth in Indonesia has been bleak over the past few years. In 2015, third-party funds only grew by 7.3 percent (y/y) to IDR 4.413.1 trillion (approx. USD $339 billion), whereas growth was recorded at a pace of 12.3 percent (y/y) in the preceding year.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo recently stated that he hopes Indonesian people will become more successful in terms of saving their income. This would contribute to overall economic development of Southeast Asia's largest economy. For example, Indonesia needs IDR 5,519.4 trillion for infrastructure development in the years 2015-2019.
Third-Party Funds at Indonesian Banks:
(in IDR billion)
¹ per September 2016
Gross National Savings per GDP: