Bandung. Vice President Jusuf Kalla hoped the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) could work more closely with the government to boost economic growth.

“I believe this congress will select Kadin’s best leader for the common good,” said the Vice President when officially opening the 8th Kadin’s national congress at Trans Hotel, Bandung, today.

He then reminded Kadin members not to be trapped in pragmatic politics as the organization is not meant to be a political group.

Responding the slowing national economy as previously stated by the Kadin incumbent chairman, Mr Kalla said almost all countries in the world, including Indonesia, experience such unfortunate condition. However, he added, Indonesia must remain optimistic to comply with this as the country has big potentials.

“Beside rich in natural resources, we have a big number of population which means a big potential market and human resources at the same time,” he said.

Still on the sluggish economy, Mr Kalla said, economic growth of a country is often measured by its gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. Yet, in fact, he continued, the real economic indicator is the availability of jobs. “As long as there is a good amount of job opportunities, people will have better purchasing power,” he said.

Such economic challenges and hardship, Mr Kalla argued, can actually be turned to a strength.

“It is true that our market is flooded by imported products. This essentially indicates that if we bolster our productivity, there will always be a market for our products,” said the Vice President.

He then underscored demographic dividend the country has that could also be used to promote productivity.

The Regional Representatives Council (DPD) chairman Irman Gusman, Industry Minister Saleh Husin, the Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) head Franky Sibarani, West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan, former Kadin’s chairman Aburizal Bakrie, Head of Vice President’s Secretariat Mohamad Oemar, and Vice President’s expert staff Sofjan Wanandi also attended the event.