The Indonesia society is currently faced with sugar problem. The Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Industry, and Coordinating Ministry of Economy need to take concrete steps in addressing this yearly problem. Vice chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin Indonesia) for Regional Empowerment and the National Logistics Agency (Bulog), Natsir Mansyur, in Jakarta on Friday (June 14), said that the ideal capacity program on the provision of raw sugar is ineffective, slow, and there are companies who are not able to implement the program, thereby it opens the possibility of leakage of refined crystal sugar, especially in the eastern part of Indonesia.
Natsir doubted the Ministry of Trade policies that can meet the need of white crystal sugar for public consumption at the border. He said that the Ministry of Trade granted 240,000 tons for companies to import raw sugar. In fact, the 240.000 tons for companies appointed are sugarcane-based sugar industries, not raw sugar-based sugar industries. Natsir regretted the policy as it is considered not solving the problem. On the other hand, local entrepreneurs have the ability to meet the needs of sugar in their regions, but they are hampered by central government policy that does not support them.
He explained that the main problem which is unhandled is high disparity of sugar price in Java and border areas. Prices of sugar from Java reached Rp14,500/kg, while price of imported sugar at the borders with neighboring countries reached Rp9,500/kg, and consumers would certainly buy sugar at a low price. If the trend countries like this, sugar smuggling at the border will remain high. The government disregarded this problem, whereas potential revenues from import taxes will be gone. “It will be difficult for us to prevent smuggling if the conditions are like this”, Natsir said.
Another problem is the amount of import quotas granted in excess of needs, where the needs of the border communities are 99,000tons, but the government issued permits to import raw sugar at 240,000 tons. Therefore, Natsir hoped that the Ministry of Trade can be transparent about the sugar problem because the import policy is for the interests of the public or the interest’s particular groups. Natsir saw that sugar issue is often the case in the Ministry of Trade, but there was no improvement.
Natsir asked the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) to perform investigative audit into the policy of the Ministry of Trade on some problems of raw sugar import in the last three years. He said that there are at least three problems to be solved and investigative audit by BPK is required, such as about the leakage of refined sugar into the market. In addition, the one that has to be investigated is the permit issued by Ministry of Trade for import of 240.000 tons of raw sugar to three sugarcane-based sugar companies, and import of raw sugar by PT Perusahaan Perdagangan Indonesia (PPI) at 240,000 tons.
Natsir continued that refined sugar is now leaking into the general market, whereas it is intended for the needs of the industry. But, it is still circulating in the general market. In fact, based on the prevailing regulations, raw sugar can only be imported by refined sugar industry, and not by sugarcane-based industry. According to him, this issue has also been brought to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), but the inspection is not running properly. Therefore, with the existence of this problem, he considered that the policies are improper and tend to be discriminative. Natsir said that sugarcane-based industry had been planting sugarcane to supply consumption, but it turns out that there are companies who are easily granted permission to import raw sugar. (E)
Business News - July 19,2013