Thursday, 9 January 2014


Director of Beverages and Tobacco of the Ministry of Industry, Eny Ratnaningtyas, said that it is not necessary yet for Indonesia to ratify the FCTC (Framework Convention on Tobacco Control) in consideration of the interests of the domestic tobacco industry. The impact of FCTC will be very wide for the cigarette industry. The use of clove for filter cigarette is only 18%-20%, but for non-filter cigarettes its use reaches 30%-40%. While 93% of the cigarette industry produces clove cigarettes, so that Indonesia still a producer of clove cigarettes. It was stated at the “Seminar on The Impact of Accession to FCTC on Tobacco Industry” which is organized by the Industrial Journalists Forum, Tuesday (December 24).

FCTC has been signed since 2003, and several Ministries were involved in setting up its framework. The rules in the treaty, among others, price setting, cigarette smoke protection, packaging, promotional advertisement, education and others. Actually, Indonesia has had the same rules as outlined in Government Regulation No. 109/2012, which is just issued a year ago. Most of the contents are adopted from the rules in the treaty, so it already has rules that protect health as well. But the problem is that Government Regulation No. 109/2012 is implemented gradually so it has not been fully implemented.

It is feared that FCTC imposes tighter and more dynamic rules, but prone to the initiator’s compulsion to follow their interests. How great is the economic effect of FCTC, because there are 6.1 million people involved in the tobacco industry. For example, China whose number smokers is still high, although is has ratified FCTC.

Meanwhile, Nurnomo Paridjo, Director of Seasonal Plants f the Ministry of Agriculture said that accession to FCTC certainly has an impact on tobacco production, and its effects on various aspects should be examined, so there is no need to rush. Indonesia has a specialty tobacco that needs to be protected and its production should be enhanced, because the market is extensive, especially in overseas. Therefore it has to be a production policy to supply and demand. Indonesian tobacco needs. Before ratifying FCTC, we should examine the further impact from the economic, cultural, and legal aspects.

Economic observer, Iman Sugema said that the success or failure of a government depends on cigarette tax revenues. If ratifying FCTC , think about how to find a replacement of cigarette taxes, schools can no longer be free, health insurance program can no longer be financed. So, such implications should be considered. Everything has cost and benefit, so it needs a careful consideration. Approximately 10% of state fund, including health budget, is funded from cigarette tax revenues. It is recommended that if we want to reduce cigarette consumption in the society, intervention should not be too far away to farm level, it is enough just to use economic instruments such as increasing tax revenue by raising the price of cigarettes. It means that there are other solutions that can be used to control tobacco consumption.

Tobacco is not only useful for cigarettes, because what is now emerging is good agriculture practices, such as pesticide components, one of them is tobacco. In the future, the use of tobacco is more widespread, including pest control. So it is unwise to ratify FCTC and limit tobacco production. Increasingly in the future, the use of chemical-based pesticides will be reduced, and farmers will be more aware of organic farming which is mush more environmentally friendly and has greater value added. So restrictions on cigarette consumption by the society can be through tax forcing, so that the increase in demand can be minimized. The ratio of the population of smokers decreases, but number of smokers is still rising because population number increases.

Professor of International Law of the University of Indonesia, Hikmahanto Heilbro, said that international agreement is often used by certain countries as an instrument which replaces colonialism. Through international treaty, a country can control other countries, even can intervene its legal sovereignty. Indonesia has a lot of experience in this. For example, the Law in Intellectual Property Rights was amended not because Indonesian people awareness rose sharply, but because there is an obligation under the WTO agreement. In fact, the provisions on Intellectual Property Rights contained in WTO agreement are made based on the legal system and practices of developed countries.

Related to accession to FCTC, it should be investigated which countries who start and design the FCTC. This is important for the government to understand the existence of FCTC. Do not compromise our country’s sovereignty with the interests of other countries. If the government considers that there are provisions of the FCTC which are good to be applied in Indonesia, then why Indonesia did not adopt these provisions into national law? Adopting provisions in international treaties into national law is different from ratification. Ratification means that Indonesia has to translate the provisions of International treaties and s willing to intervene through the mechanisms set out in the treaties.

Currently, many international treaties that have been ratified by Indonesia, but there are no translations into national laws. Therefore, is it necessary for Indonesia ratify FCTC? Should Indonesia adopt provisions that benefit Indonesia? 

Business News - December 30, 2013

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