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Heads to roll in Indonesian government after poor performance: official

[JAKARTA] Indonesia's president will soon fire several top government officials due to poor performance, Cabinet Secretary Andi Widjajanto said on Thursday, paving the way for a possible cabinet reshuffle less than a year after taking office.

In a sign of frustration over a flagging economy and policymaking mired in red tape, President Joko Widodo has said he will this week evaluate his cabinet's work so far.

"The president has been very clear that if his priorities are not implemented seriously, he has no doubts about replacing certain officials," Mr Widjajanto told reporters at the state palace in the capital Jakarta.

"Just wait, there will be (officials) fired soon," he added.

Among those who could lose their jobs include senior officials in ministries and directors at state-owned enterprises, Mr Widjajanto said.

The head of the state food procurement agency was sacked earlier this month, becoming the first Widodo-era government official to be replaced for failing to meet targets.

Mr Widodo is keen to appear more assertive after being criticised for several policy flip-flops and a perceived failure to stand up to vested interests.

"Let it be known that if things get (even more) difficult, I can fire the director general, the people on the ground, even the minister," Mr Widodo said on Wednesday after discovering significant problems while inspecting Jakarta's main port, according to local media.

Since taking office in October the president has come under fire for failing to revive an economy growing at its slowest pace in six years. The World Bank has projected that Southeast Asia's largest economy will grow 4.7 per cent this year, below the government's estimate of 5.4 per cent.

The president has also come under pressure, notably from his own party, to reshuffle his cabinet to include more members from his coalition.

REUTERS