Indonesian govt taking steps to prevent hoarding of basic necessities

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – The Indonesian government is making necessary efforts to prevent the hoarding of basic necessities and to control and maintain stable prices of commodities in the face of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan later this May.

With the Ramadan fasting month drawing closer, the government has set up a police food task force and has made it mandatory for distributors of basic commodities to register at the trade ministry to prevent speculators from hoarding essential commodities.

The police food task force has been set up at the national level: National police headquarters, regional/provincial police, and resort/district police levels.

The food task force will continue to monitor the market conditions and attempts to hoard basic commodities by speculators.

The task force has been assigned the main duty of supervising price fluctuations, volume of basic commodities, price hikes, and distribution from producers to consumers.

“We are coordinating with the local governments, notably with regard to trade activities and the state logistics board Bulog,” Head of Public Relations of the Jakarta Police Senior Commissioner Argo Yuwono stated in Jakarta on Thursday (May 4).

Yuwono noted that Indonesian Police Chief General Tito Karnavian has held a video conference with all regional police chiefs and ordered them to help maintain stability in the prices of basic necessities in the face of the fasting month.

In Jakarta, the Metro Jaya Regional Police has set up a basic commodity monitoring team, chaired by Director of Metro Jaya Polices Special Crime Department Senior Commissioner Wahyu Hadiningrat.

The team is chiefly tasked with monitoring and supervising the hoarding of basic commodities that have the potential to drive up prices.

“We will see whether there is deliberate stocking and hoarding of commodities similar to a cartel practice that causes prices to shoot up in the run-up to the Ramadan month,” Yuwono noted.

The Metro Jaya Police, in cooperation with the Jakarta government and relevant institutions, will be able to know and supervise the channels of trade of basic commodities. It will accord priority to anticipatory measures to avoid price hikes as a result of hoarding.

Supervision of expired food commodities will be carried out by officials of a joint team.

There are several sensitive commodities, such as chili, that should be monitored to ensure that their prices stay at the normal levels. Hence, the police food task force continues to keep a close watch on the developments in the prices of chili. The price of this commodity should always be maintained at a reasonable level.

“The reasonable price of cayenne pepper at the farmers level is about Rp20 thousand per kilogram (kg) and is about Rp30 thousand and Rp40 thousand at the consumer level. If the price is more than that at the consumer level, then it means something (is not right),” Head of National Police Public Relations Inspector General Setyo Wasisto stated at the Police Headquarters in Jakarta on Thursday.

Despite only being set up in early May of 2017, the National Police Task Force has been working since February 2017. The Food Task Force of the National Polices Headquarters is chaired by Inspector General Setyo Wasisto.

“We have conducted several activities in coordination with the ministry to curb the price of red chili, which was once sold at Rp180 thousand per kg at the consumer level,” Wasisto stated.

Based on the website of the trade ministry, the price of curly red chili at the national level was recorded at Rp28,070 per kg, while in Jakarta it was sold at Rp31,640 per kg on May 3.

Apart from the task force, all distributors and sub-distributors of basic commodities are also required to register themselves in order to streamline the efforts to identify speculators and thwart their actions in the face of the fasting month and the subsequent Lebaran festivities.

“Distributors and sub-distributors are obligated to register. They can do it online or come directly to the registration place,” Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita stated after holding a video conference at the Central Java Police headquarters in Semarang on Wednesday (May 3).

Apart from registering themselves, distributors are also obligated to report the volume of stocks in their warehouses.

The report must be made periodically once a month through the mechanism of the Integrated Licensing Information System (SIPT).

“The report must be made latest by the 15th of every month through the SIPT mechanism,” Minister Lukita stated.

The Trade Ministry regulates the matter through Trade Ministerial Regulation No. 20/M-DAG/PER/3/3017 on Registration of Basic Commodity Business Distributors, effective as of April 3, 2017.

In certain conditions, distributors of basic commodities are obligated to provide data and information on the procurement and distribution of basic necessities if requested by the directorate general of home trade of the Trade Ministry.

Certain prerequisites include the condition of goods at the time of stock distribution and when the prices are below or above the reference prices. Through the obligation, the government wants to ensure that the stocks of basic necessities are available in the market.

The distributors of basic commodities who violate the regulation are liable to face administrative sanctions, such as freezing or even cancellation of their Business Distribution Registration.

Source: Antara News