JAKARTA: The World Bank would allocate about US$900 million in loans to Indonesia this year to help the government boost economic growth, reduce poverty and manage the nation’s finances better, World Bank country director Andrew Steer told reporters in Jakarta on April 11. “Indonesia may borrow more if needed because its economy has improved and its debt to the World Bank has been falling very rapidly,” he said.

“Indonesia is now performing well enough to qualify for up to $1.4 billion” of World Bank loans, Steer said. But the amount of loans extended “each year depends on how much the government would like to borrow.”

The World Bank’s pledge will be made through the 32-member Consultative Group on Indonesia, or CGI.

Indonesia plans to ask for $2.5 billion of new loans from the World Bank and other overseas lenders this year to help cover its budget deficit and pay existing debt, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said on Feb. 6.

CGI loaned about $3.4 billion, consisting of $2.8 billion in loans and another $600 million in grants to Indonesia last year.

The group includes the World Bank and other international lenders as well as 21 countries, including Japan and the U.S.

Most of the money was used to overcome a budget shortfall and fund roads, hospitals and power plants.