The Ombudsman of the Republic of Indonesia has completed a self-initiated investigation into Improvements in Governance of the Government’s Rice Reserves. Ombudsman member Yata Hendra Fatika said one of his findings was that the implementation of the highest retail price (HET) for rice was not effective. One of the indicators is that the sanctions for rice entrepreneurs who sell above the HET price have not yet been implemented.
“After all, regulations must be able to build the dignity and prestige of the Ministry of Trade. At this time, we also see that the sanctions have not been implemented. So maybe a study is needed,” explained Yata Hendra Fatika in a virtual commemoration of World Food Day 2021, Monday (18/10/2021). ).
Hendra added that the HET policy is a pro policy towards consumers and the poor. However, he reminded that data from the Central Statistics Agency stated that the number of poor people in Indonesia was only around 10 percent. This means that 90 percent of the population who are not included in the poor category also enjoy the HET rice policy.
On the other hand, he said, the amount of HET for rice from 2017-2021 did not change even though production costs and inflation continued to increase in the span of that year.
“Regarding labeling, because the policy can only apply if labeling has been implemented. But the question is whether rice labeling can be guaranteed to the end,” he added.
The issue of rice labeling is regulated in the Minister of Trade Regulation Number 08 of 2019 concerning the Obligation to Include Rice Packaging Labels. The obligation to include labels on the packaging applies to premium, medium, and special types of rice. Meanwhile, rice packers are individuals or business entities that carry out their own rice packaging activities, or collected rice to be traded to consumers.
Meanwhile, the HET for rice is regulated in the Regulation of the Minister of Trade No. 57 of 2017 concerning the Determination of the HET for Rice. The HET for rice consists of HET for medium rice and HET for premium rice which are determined based on the sales area. The eight regions regulated in the regulation are Java, Lampung, and South Sumatra; Sumatra except Lampung and South Sumatra; Bali and West Nusa Tenggara (NTB); East Nusa Tenggara (NTT); Sulawesi; Kalimantan; Maluku and Papua.
For example, in Java the medium HET is set at Rp9,450 per kilogram, while the Premium HET is set at Rp12,800 per kilogram.
In response, the Minister of Trade Muhammad Lutfi said the HET for rice was already above the international price of rice. In addition, he believes that the Indonesian people will be sacrificed if the price of rice continues to rise. However, he stressed that the trade ministry would take corrective action as recommended by the Ombudsman.
“So this is a subtle issue that we must pay attention to the dynamics to be fair. So I will pay attention, hopefully in 14 days we will carry out the correction and report back the correction,” said Muhammad Lutfi.
Lutfi explained that his ministry will continue to encourage more transparent governance to prevent maladministration. [sm/ab]