Indonesia has raised Rp 18.33 trillion (US$1.27 billion) from government retail bond issuance ORI-017, the Finance Ministry announced on Monday, the highest proceeds ever recorded in an online bond offering by the country as the government struggles to finance its coronavirus response.The Finance Ministry managed to book the figure as individual investors flocked to safe-haven assets amid a volatile financial market due to uncertainties triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak. This is the third year for the government to issue retail bonds online.“The proceeds will be used to fund the budget deficit, particularly for mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Finance Ministry’s director for sovereign debt papers, Deni Ridwan, told a discussion on Monday. “With high appetite from retail investors, we can be more independent in financing the state budget needs.” Topics : The government faces a daunting task to cover a state budget deficit of 6.34 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) this year as it has allocated Rp 695.2 trillion to strengthen the healthcare system and to prevent more severe economic fallout from the pandemic.Most of the funding to plug the deficit will come from debt financing, as the government expects to raise more than Rp 1.5 quadrillion from bonds this year, around Rp 50 trillion to Rp 75 trillion of which is to come from retail bonds.“This is a good opportunity to democratize and broaden our debt market so that the government may have a new source of funding from retail investors,” Bareksa CEO Karaniya Dharmasaputra said in a statement on Friday.The investment marketplace reported an increase of 608 percent in government bond sales from series ORI-017 to ORI-016, which was issued by the government last year, with the number of buyers soaring by 382 percent from last year.The coronavirus pandemic is taking a toll on the country’s economy as the government expects growth of just 1 percent this year under the baseline scenario, or a contraction of 0.4 percent under the worst-case scenario.This situation has forced Southeast Asia’s biggest economy to increase its spending at a time when income has fallen to mitigate the economic and public health impact of the coronavirus crisis, resulting in the widening state budget deficit. Bonds in the ORI-017 series carry a fixed coupon rate of 6.4 percent and have a tenure of three years to mature on July 15, 2023. The debt papers were offered online to Indonesian individuals, who could invest between Rp 1 million and Rp 3 billion each. The bond will be tradable between domestic investors after a two-month holding period.The Finance Ministry noted that 42,733 investors bought the debt papers offered from June 15 to July 9. They are dominated by millennials, or people between 20 and 40 years of age, followed by the age group of 41 to 55 years and investors aged 54 to 74 years old.The number of investors who bought ORI-017 worth Rp 1 million jumped by 123 percent compared to the previous series to 2,002 people.“Aside of being a source of state budget financing, the ORI-017 issuance as part of the government retail bond series is also an effort to nurture an investment culture [among Indonesians] and to create independence in state financing,” the ministry said in a statement on Monday.
UConn is expected to ditch the American Athletic Conference (AAC) and return to the Big East, a move geared toward benefiting the school’s men’s and women’s basketball programs. But what would such a move mean for UConn’s football program?This presents other tough questions, including the one nobody wants to ask. Should UConn ditch football altogether and go all-in as a basketball school? After all, that would fit the Big East model. None of the 11 current Big East schools have FBS football. They know what max value is, and more importantly, what sports have that power. Football isn’t one of them.Not in the Big East, anyway. UConn will either have to fight as an independent or drop to the FCS. Those are the best options right now.Otherwise, that uncomfortable question will come up every year. Before asking these questions, one must look at UConn’s max value as a football program and the options available when it leaves the AAC, which has been the strongest Group of 5 conference in the College Football Playoff era.MORE: Ranking all college football coaches for the 2019 seasonUConn joined Division I in 2000 and worked its way up to the Big East, which was an automatic qualifier school in the Bowl Championship Series era. The Huskies’ best season was in 2010 under Randy Edsall. UConn went 8-5 in a year in which they split the conference championship and made the Fiesta Bowl without beating a ranked team. Oklahoma routed UConn in that game, 48-20.That was the program’s max value season. The Huskies are 28-69 since 2011, even with Edsall returning in 2017 after failed stints by Paul Pasqualoni and Bob Diaco.The only FBS programs with lower winning percentages in that stretch are UTEP (27-70), New Mexico State (25-73), Georgia State (19-57), Charlotte (12-36), UMass (18-67) and Kansas (15-81).Georgia State and Charlotte started football this decade. The other four programs offer a window into UConn’s football options at the FBS level.Would UConn fit in Conference-USA?No. At this point, UConn would be an East Coast version of UTEP.There are no natural rivalries on which the Huskies could, and it’s essentially a G5 demotion for the program that would excite nobody.How about the Mid-American Conference?Nope. UMass tried that, and it doesn’t work. A bunch of MAC East Ohio schools will not want to make the trip to Storrs, Conn., during the height of the weekday #MACtion in November. Nobody from the East Coast is going to want to make that Tuesday trip to Kent State or Bowling Green, either.If the Huskies can’t offer basketball to those conferences, then they won’t offer much good. The Group of 5 might have some realignment, but none of it will be appetizing.What about the other options?Could UConn go independent?Yes, but it puts the program in limbo. That’s what New Mexico State and UMass are doing now. It makes for a tough, repetitive schedule, and it’s a challenge to get into bowl games with the conference tie-ins. It’s hard to maintain interest as an independent.Notre Dame has an ACC arrangement. BYU plays a ridiculous schedule. Army could take UConn’s spot in the AAC and run with it. It’s just not a great option.Should UConn make a Power 5 push?No. The move out of the AAC suggests that’s not the intention. Kansas’ struggles with football are eternal, but the Jayhawks can still offer the Big 12 coach Les Miles. The Huskies will never be able to do that. This would be expensive, and no Power 5 conference is in a rush to add UConn even if there is another merry-go-round of expansion.That leads to the most uncomfortable questions.Should UConn eliminate football?It at least has to be a conversation, even if it’s a short one. That always evokes an emotional response because it means jobs are eliminated and scholarships are student-athletes are involved.Despite the struggles this decade, football still generates revenue from television contracts. No school wants to lose that TV money. UConn’s average attendance was 20,924 and averages what a Group of 5 school typically averages over a five-year span. When you eliminate the sport, you can feel the same backlash that UAB did.This isn’t a UAB-like situation though. At UConn, football will never be the front porch. The women’s basketball team has 11 national championships. The men’s basketball team has four national championships. They have won 12 of those national titles since the Huskies were routed in that Fiesta Bowl.Any other options?Move down to the FCS. If the Huskies aren’t going to eliminate football, then the move to the Big East should at least correspond with a move down to the FCS level in football. Downsizing would not be the wrong play in this case, and that has been suggested in the past by SB Nation’s Matt Brown.That would match the Big East profile, too. Georgetown and Villanova still play football in the FCS. The Hoyas are in the Patriot League. The Wildcats have made four playoff appearances in the Colonial Athletic Association this decade. They will never overshadow their basketball programs, but at least the schools know that.If UConn didn’t figure that out the last six years in the AAC — where it won more than three games only one time — then it won’t learn that lesson at any other spot in the FBS.