Reinterpreting Dual Banking System Through Pancasila Market Economy

Adi Wicaksono, Political Economy and Public Policy Observer from Forum Dialog Nusantara (FDN) and Pancasila Economics Research Center (PERCent.)

Not  long  prior  to his  widely  mourned  passed  away  in  2019,  Indonesian  third  President Bacharuddin  Jusuf Habibie presented an intellectual legacy not many  of his  people  aware  of.  The  renowned technocrat introduced  Pancasila Market  Economy (PME), a concept that, as he saw, was urgently needed by the country  to make it through the current and future multidimensional challenges.  

Socioeconomic model based  on Pancasila values is virtually not a  new  thing in  Indonesia.  Many  scholars  and  economists  have  formulated  their  own  interpretations of  the republic’s five ideological  tenets like  those of Emil Salim,  Mubyarto, and Arif  Budimanta  more  recently.  However,  looking  at  Habibie’s  point  of  view  on  the  subject  as  historical  actor  who  laid  the  foundation  of  Indonesia’s reform era, offers a special angle.  

During  his  presidency,  Habibie  led  the  agenda  of  democratization,  cemented  freedom  of  the  press,  brought  independency  to  central  bank  from  executive  influence and many more. Thanks to the successful inter-sectoral reform, he has  been  dubbed  as  Indonesia’s  father  of  democracy.  But  two  decades  later,  he  himself proposed the PME instead. Did he feel that the reform had not worked as  expected? 

At his first public introduction of PME in Bogor Palace, December 2017, Habibie  indicated that Pancasila is not yet ideally implemented, if not abandoned by the  people.  It  was  even  sometime  used  as  an  instrument  by  interest  groups  to  legitimize  their  cause.  The  diminishing  understanding  of  Pancasila  is  a  real  internal problem for Indonesia to carry out the vision of the founding fathers.  

Externally,  global  economic  landscape  has  been  changing  over  time.  As  a  reputable technologist, Habibie  was  fully  aware  that  technology  has  been  and  keeps  reshaping every aspect  of  human way  of life. Just as  described  by Solow  equation  in  which  A (knowledge)  is  a  constant  to the  production  function,  technology  allows  capital, population,  consumption,  and  output  to  grow  at  a  constant  rate.  As  such,  public  policies  either  legislations,  executive  orders  or  other forms of regulation and directive must be constantly reviewed and revised  in line with technological development.  

In  a  delicate  manner,  technology  has  triggered the  trend  of  socioeconomic polarization around the world. In some industries, for example, there has been a  war  between  Big  Tech  multinational  corporations  aiming  for  centralization  of  everything and tech-savvy communities promoting decentralization powered by  blockchain  technology.  Stiglitz  (2012)  suggested  that  technology  has  made  middle-skill  job to  disappear,  causing  polarization  in  labor  market.  This  could  lead  to widening economic inequality  that could  further result in divided social  cohesion and political polarization. 

Regarding this polarization trend, PME comes to remind Indonesia to remain in  the middle as a  third way  or mixed economy as mandated  by  the  constitution. 

Indonesia must avoid any temptation to lean into one extreme; neither planned  socialist  nor  laissez-faire liberal  economy.  PME  emphasizes  that  market  as  the  most  effective  allocation  mechanism  should  be  the  epicenter  of  the  economy  guided by sound Pancasila-oriented macroeconomic management.  

Evaluating dual banking system 

One of main sectors having greatest exposure from technological development is  the  services particularly  finance  and  banking  industry.  Financial  market  disruption  has  recently  become  top  issues  among  authorities  and  business  executives. On this issue, PME views the need of harmony and synthesis between  Islamic  or  sharia  economy  and  conventional  one as Habibie  said that  conventional and sharia banking must benefit and complement each other. 

Habibie’s  explication might remind  us  back  to his  presidential  tenure when  he  led  Indonesia  monetary  reform.  Through  Bank  Indonesia  Act  23/1999,  he  founded  the dual banking system in which central bank may conduct monetary  management  through sharia principle as mandated in Article 10 paragraph (2).  The  paragraph  (3)  later  states  that  the  implementation  of  aforementioned  monetary management to be formulated by Bank Indonesia Regulation, meaning  that  the  central  bank  would  play  the  key  role  in  interpreting  the  system establishment.  

Dual  banking  system  was  designed,  as  per  the  act considerations,  to  support  sustainable  economic  growth  through  financial  stability.  Sharia  banks  that  operate with profit sharing principle were expected to counterbalance the more  vulnerable  interest-based  conventional  banks.  The  coexistence  of  sharia  and  conventional banks would presumably better guarantee the stability of financial  system. 

Nevertheless, after more than two decades of the system implementation, almost  all the assumptions have not been met yet. Ichsan (2012) tried to examine dual  banking system stability in Indonesia. Using data from 2005-2011, he found that  sharia banks were not more stable  than conventional ones where sharia banks  stability  were  more  prone  to  inflation  (18,56%)  than  conventional  (8,56%).  Zahra, Ascarya, & Huda (2018) outlined that the average Banking Stability Index  of conventional banks (0,299) were greater than sharia ones (0,278). 

In  term  of economic impact, dual banking  system has  so  far failed  to  optimally  stimulate economic  growth.  Both  conventional  and  sharia  banks have failed  to  support monetary expansion  through credit and  financing. This can be seen by  broad  money (M2) to  GDP  ratio  that  tends  to  shrink  from  58,4%  in  1999  to  38,7% in 2019, positioning Indonesia among the bottom of the list globally. This  has  caused  some  problematic  phenomenon  such  as  premature  deindustrialization and the lack of financial depth.  

Best  possible  answer  to  explain  the  problem is  the  generalization  of  fractional  reserve  banking  system.  Khan  (1986)  stated  that  the  principal  difference  between conventional and sharia banking is not that the former allows interest  and the latter does not. Many Islamic scholars view that the underlying principle 

of sharia banking is  full reserve system,  therefore it does not  fit with  fractional  one.  Under  fractional  regime,  sharia  banks  would  simply  lose  its  competitive  advantages against  conventional  counterparts either in  stability  or profitability  standpoints.  

Imposing fractional regime for both sharia and conventional banks has also been  a  contributing  factor  to  the  ineffectiveness  of  monetary  policy  transmission.  Bank  Indonesia often loses its grip to money supply management since private  banks become  the main source of money creation. When banks hold credit and  financing,  Bank  Indonesia  does  not  have  effective  instruments  to  money  expansion.  Adjusting  discount  policy often  does  not  help banks’  credit interest rate  to  change  since  government’s  treasury  bonds  as  risk-free  assets  offer  significant higher returns.  

Potential future model 

Central  bank  digital  currency  (CBDC)  is  among  the  latest  technological  development that could become a game changer in financial sector. CBDC would  enable  central  banks  to  facilitate  retail  transaction  where  citizen  would  have  their  personal  account  in  its  system.  This  could  boost  financial  inclusion  and  allow  an  unprecedented  transparency  in  financial  practices.  The  side  effect,  in  one  extreme,  CBDC could  eliminate  the  need  for  financial  intermediaries or  banking services. 

Some  central  banks  like  those  of  Sweden  and  Euro  Area  are  reportedly  considering the use of CBDC to adopt full reserve system. This would grant them  full  control  over money  supply  by  limiting  private  banks  the  access  to  credit  money  creation.  This  is  also  known  as  nationalization  of  money (not  banks) 

where  central  banks  and  governments  take  a  more  active  role  in  real  sector  financing in combating credit crunch. Otherwise, at boom period, central banks  can better manage money expansion to avoid bubbles in the economy.  

Retaining  fractional  or  shifting  to  full  reserve  system  would  have  significant economic impact in  the CBDC era. Which one should  Indonesia choose? Here is  the  beauty  of  PME.  Instead  of  choosing  one,  PME  allows  the  synthesis  or  coexistence of both using dual banking system. Central bank could separate the  system  for  one  whom  best  fit into,  fractional  for  conventional  and  full  reserve  system  for  sharia  banking.  Thus,  conventional  and  sharia  banking  could  better  counterbalance and complement each other.  

Central  bank  and  government  could  then  compensate  sharia  banking’s  limited  leverage  and  lack  of  money  creation  capacity  with  a  new  kind  of  monetary  expansion mechanism. This could  be in  the  form of  founding  the national halal  fund using  non  interest-bearing  CBDC  issuance.  Sharia  banks  may  access  the  fund  to  leverage  its  financing  portfolio  and  take  only  fees  for  revenue  while 

central bank takes the seigniorage. This mechanism could significantly lower the  financing  cost  to  support  Indonesia’s  vision  to  become  the  center  of  global  Islamic finance and economy. 

To mitigate risk, sharia banks must equip themselves with reliable and unbiased  creditworthiness  assessments  using  latest  big  data  and  artificial  intelligence  technology. In  the  other  hand, thanks  to CBDC high-level transparency,  central  bank  and  government  can  trace,  oversee and  even  block the  unscheduled  spending of the fund by borrowers to prevent moral hazard. This advanced risk  management should provide a greater  financing access  for unbanked small and  medium  enterprises  or  big  corporations  in  prioritized and  export-oriented sectors.  

More  interestingly,  central  bank  could  utilize  full  reserve  regime  to  promote  social lending practices. Many financial platforms such as Kiva have successfully  done  this  type  of  zero  interest  loans  in  a  multibillion  dollars  ecosystem.  With  some  modifications  and coordination  with  central  bank  and  government,  full  reserve sharia banks could create similar ecosystem while making revenues and  delivering substantial socioeconomic benefits in the process.  

In a  nutshell, adopting  full  reserve as  part  of  dual  banking  system will  provide  central  banks additional tools  to  manage  stability  and  stimulate  economic  growth.  This  corresponds  with  Habibie  statement  in  many  post-presidency  interviews  that  monetary  reform  he  did  was  to  boost  predictability  and  strengthen  the  role  of  Bank  Indonesia  in  the  economy  as  an  independent  institution.  

Bank Indonesia’s plan to issue its own CBDC, the digital rupiah, could become a  great  momentum  to  reinterpret  the  dual  banking  system.  Full  reserve  incorporation in the system would maintain Indonesia as mixed economy in the  middle of future possible CBDC extreme arrangements; Soviet style of one bank  for all or liberal privately controlled monetary system.

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