Sri Mulyani swears in Suryo Utomo as new tax office chief

Posted by on 04 November 2019


President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati appointed Suryo Utomo, formerly expert tax compliance staff to the minister, as taxation director general on Friday, replacing the outgoing Robert Pakpahan, who is set to retire. 

Suryo was among 17 officials sworn in at the Finance Ministry's office on Friday in a broad shakeup that also affected positions at the Customs and Excise Directorate General, National Single Window Agency (LNSW) and the Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP). 

Speaking during the ceremony, Sri Mulyani called on Suryo to continue ongoing tax reforms that had been laid out by Robert, most notably in ensuring smooth procurement for the country's core tax system. 

"The most important tax reform pillar is the establishment of our core tax system, which provides support to the Taxation Directorate General," Sri Mulyani said in Jakarta on Friday.

"That was the message conveyed by President [Jokowi] to Pak Suryo [...] that the Taxation Directorate General should maintaining the momentum of state revenue [collection] without damaging the business and investment climate." 

Suryo, 50, had served as the finance minister's expert tax compliance staff since 2015. He also worked as the director of taxation regulation at the tax office between 2011 and 2012 and director of expansion and assessment in 2015. 

He is inheriting the tax office at a time when the authority has been struggling to collect taxes amid a slowdown of economic activities in almost every sector. Tax revenue only grew 0.21 percent year-on-year (yoy) to Rp 801.16 trillion (US$57.14 billion) from January to August. 

GDP grew 5.05 percent in this year’s second quarter, the slowest rate in the last two years, amid cooling investment and softening domestic spending.

Sluggish economic growth also affected the country's tax revenue from the manufacturing sector, the primary tax revenue contributor, which contracted 4.8 percent yoy to Rp 215.58 trillion in the first eight months of the year. 

Editor's note: This article has been revised to reflect that Suryo Utomo is 50 years old.

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