Minister Lukita to reinforce rice storage warehouses

Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said he will shore up the functioning of the warehouses where rice and other basic necessities are stored in the regions to control distribution.

“These warehouses will be monitored, and we will keep a record of their ownership and capacity. These are not intended to facilitate hoarding,” Enggartiasto said at a meeting at his ministry on Friday.

The toning up of warehouses functioning is intended to control the distribution of basic food items, especially rice.

“If there is a price increase, I will immediately inspect the warehouse. If I find stock being hoarded, it would amount to a violation will have to be dealt with,” he warned.

The minister informed that as of now, Indonesia has 14,400 storehouses, but not all are registered officially, and the process to ensure registration is on.

State logistics board Bulog also has 150 warehouses. If these are found inadequate, the minister assured he would hire additional warehouses for distribution control, particularly for rice.

There is a possibility that distribution could be hampered on account of adverse weather conditions, excessive supplies in certain areas and holidays.

Based on the results of monitoring, the minister assured that essential goods supply will remain secure for up to three months.

At the distributor level, stocks for non-perishable commodities such as rice, sugar, cooking oil and wheat flour are secure.

“Today, ahead of the New Year, the distributors are anticipating that they will have to increase the supply of goods to meet the rising demand,” he noted.

Meanwhile, stocks of rice in certain regional divisions were reported adequate to meet the needs until March 2017. These included PSO rice (for Raskin and market operations) stocks and commercial rice stocks.

The minister also held meetings with several associations to check the volume of available supplies.

He urged the businessmen not to try to raise the price of merchandise to gain any undue benefit from the New Year and Christmas holidays. If prices go up, the Minister of Trade will provide a reference price. Enggartiasto Lukita assured that prices of basic necessities (groceries) will remain stable during the festive season.

Source: Antara News