The Indonesian Consumers’ Foundation [YLKI] saw there was some attempt to mislead public opinion as if the legislation of Indonesian Government’s Bill [RPP] on Tobacco taxes. Legislation of RPP, cigarette taxes. “With or without RPP, cigarette tax just have to increase” Tulus Abadi of YLKI told Business News [21/9].
YLKI saw that some industries made their misleading interpretation of the legislation process of RPP Bill. The mis-interpretation was clearly to serve the industry’s interest, which had been advantaged by the emergence of new generations of beginner smokers “if they link RPP with economic issue it is certainly not true” Tulus Abadi was quoted as saying.
RPP had definitely nothing to do with cigarette taxes, but was strongly related to people’s health. If the RPP Bill were passed, there were possibilities cigarette tax would increase or not be increased. RPP was more in the domain of health, especially related to pictures or writings which warned smokers about endangered health. “Cigarette tax must increase up to 57 percent of selling price. Now it had not reached 57 percent, which means cigarette tax would increase. We don’t know it all depends on the President’s decision” Tulus Abadi remarked.
Meanwhile Indonesia for Global Justice [IGJ] rated that in making regulations on tobacco, the Government was not focused on the health aspect, but rather more on agriculture, industry and trading of tobacco and cigarettes. IGJ Research saw that the regulations made by Government were set of rules on production restriction, standardization of industry, brands and labels which had nothing to do with health problems.
“The Regulations as written RPP Tobacco which were based on rules made by the central Governments would allow more room for big cigarette producers and foreign companies to dominate the industry. As known, cigarette producers from America, Europe, Japan, and China are storming the Indonesian market to grab a share of the market” Salamuddin disclosed to Business News [10/9].
The free Trade agreement signed by Indonesia and China [ACFTA], Indonesia and Japan [IJEPA], Indonesia and the USA [OPIC] Indonesia and Uni Europe [CEPA] would open doors for foreign countries to expand their business to Indonesia including tobacco and cigarette business.
China and the USA hunger for Indonesia’s tobacco market. China is the greatest producer of tobacco and cigarette in the world, commanding over 34% -40% of Global tobacco market. The USA was another leading producer of tobacco and cigarette of the world, corporations of this superpower country were most aggressive in commanding over national companies of many countries, among the aggressive was Phillip Morris.
The Indonesian Government who was busily setting pre-requirements for the national agriculture and industry was responded by the researcher of ReIDE Indonesia Agus Surono. According to Agus, policy of the Indonesian Government would be a blow to supply of big kretek [clover cigarettes] industry and injure the small industry. On the other hand landslide of imported tobacco and tobacco products were unavoidable due to free trade agreements.
In the effort to restrict import, supposedly the Government strengthened the agricultural sector and national industry, whether through agricultural subsidy policy, import tax and non tariff barriers. “This is to consider that Indonesia’s economy has been greatly disadvantaged by imports of agricultural products including tobacco which had incurred great loss on farmers“Salamuddin remarked.
Hence it might be concluded the anti-tobacco regulations for health had deviated from its original objectives i.e. to protect healthy. “Supposedly the Government focus rules on smoking restrictions for the under-aged, producer smoking lounges for smokers in public places so any prejudice among the public could be eliminated” Salamudin concluded.
BUSINESS NEWS - September 26, 2012