JAKARTA—President Joko Widodo said it was a dream that got him where he is today. And now he’s telling others that they too must dream big if they expect to have an impact on the world’s fourth most populous country.
Less than three weeks after being sworn in as Indonesia’s seventh president, Mr. Widodo told hundreds of Indonesian business titans Friday that many people have questioned his ambitious plans to build and expand 24 seaports within the next four years and up to 30 irrigation dams within the next five.
“I told them you have to have big dreams, not half-hearted ones,” said Mr. Widodo, a former furniture exporter.
During his inaugural address on Oct. 20, Mr. Widodo pledged that his government would improve public welfare, and he has outlined an agenda that includes spending more on infrastructure, education and health care.
The 53-year-old president who ran on a populist platform hasn’t announced his precise plans for improving the livelihoods of Indonesia’s 250 million people, more than 28 million of whom still live below the official poverty line. But he does have a vision, and he’s asked that his government show similar work ethic and ambition.
“My ministers must set targets,” he said at an annual event organized by a large Indonesian media group. “How will you work without any targets?”
A former mayor of the mid-sized town of Solo and then Jakarta governor, Mr. Widodo said he expected his ministers to meet their commitments and wouldn’t hesitate to replace those who didn’t live up to expectations.