Gerindra Reveals Four Inconsistencies in Rice Import Policy

By : Herry Barus And Aldo Bella Putra | Sunday, January 14 2018 - 23:00 IWST

Wakil Ketua Umum Partai Gerindra Fadli Zon (Foto Dok
Wakil Ketua Umum Partai Gerindra Fadli Zon (Foto Dok - Jakarta - The government's plan to import 500,000 tons of rice by the end of this month proves chaos in food governance in Indonesia.

"It also shows the low quality of food data that they have," said Vice Chairman of Gerindra Party Fadli Zon in Jakarta, Sunday (14/1/20178).

According to him, the policy initiated by the Ministry of Trade is very strange. Fadli saw no government statement synchronized with each other. He also mentioned there are at least four peculiarities in rice import policy.

First, the Ministry of Agriculture until now still claims that in January 2018 there will be a rice surplus of 329 thousand tons. Referring to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics, Kementan said throughout 2017 rice production reached 2.8 million tons, while consumption rate of around 2.5 million tons.

"If the figure is right, it should be a surplus of rice, but the price of rice in the market actually rises," said Fadli.

Second oddity is the government mentions the scarcity of rice occurs in the type of medium that has been consumed by the middle class society. However, import licenses issued by the Ministry of Trade for premium rice.

"It's not disconnected, which is considered a problem where but the settlement is somewhere," said Fadli.

Third, the government argued rice imports as an effort to maintain price stability in the consumer level. In accordance with the provisions, including Permendag 1/2018, which is structured, to legitimize rice imports, general import licenses can only be carried out by the Logistics Agency (Bulog).

"Please read section 16 Permendag 1/2018. Well, this trade minister even gave his permission to other companies," said Fadli.

The fourth peculiarity is that import permits are issued by the government just as the farmers are facing the harvest season.

"The four peculiarities are more than enough to prove that the government has not been transparent in managing the food policy, and I think the exaggeration of the recent increase in rice prices is actually the government itself, and it is triggered by the absurdity of the highest retail price rules, " explained Fadli as reported by Rmol.

He added that when the price equilibrium in the rice market is above Rp 9,000 per kilogram, the government even set the medium rice HET for example at Rp 9,450. It also appears that HET policy is a pre-condition for legitimizing rice imports.

"If the price of rice rises, while on the other hand the government claims rice production is actually surplus then the government should do is market operations rather than imports," said Fadli who is also the executive of the chairman of the House of Representatives.

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