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Asia Insight

Widodo's state-enterprise reform skirts election-year layoffs

Critics say painless restructuring offers insufficient efficiency gains

SHOTARO TANI, Nikkei staff writer | Indonesia

JAKARTA -- Dahlan Iskan, Indonesia's state-owned enterprise minister, was livid. It was 2014, and the construction of gas infrastructure had been plagued by delays, due to what he saw as "unhealthy competition" between two state companies: Pertamina Gas (Pertagas) and Perusahaan Gas Negara.

Iskan, who would leave office that year, issued a letter to oil and gas giant Pertamina, threatening to merge its unit Pertagas with the distributor PGN if they did not sort themselves out.

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