February 26, 2020 / 4:19 AM / a month ago

Indonesia finance minister says bracing for wider budget deficit amid virus outbreak

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia’s Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati on Wednesday warned the coronavirus epidemic in China, which has spread to some other countries, could pressure tax collection and widen the government’s fiscal deficit this year.

“I’m not a cheerleader, I am counter cyclical. When you’re happy, I collect your taxes. But when the economy slumps, I spend. When you’re gloomy, I spend,” she told an economic forum hosted by CNBC Indonesia.

Her comment came a day after the government unveiled a nearly $750 million stimulus package to support domestic consumption and tourism and soften the impact of the virus epidemic. The 2020 fiscal deficit forecast before the stimulus package was set at 1.8% of GDP.

Reporting by Tabita Diela, Maikel Jefriando; Writing by Gayatri Suroyo; Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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