Concerns Over Omnibus Healthcare Bill
The Indonesian Employers Association (APINDO) has called on the government to exclude social security clusters, specifically those related to the Healthcare Social Security Agency (BPJS), from the upcoming omnibus Healthcare Bill. APINDO Chairman Hariyadi Sukamdani said necessary provisions on patients’ rights are already properly regulated and that the Healthcare Bill could reduce the quality of health services. He said the government should focus on other fundamental issues in the sector, such as human resources and health facility readiness.
The bill could potentially overlap with other existing regulations, said APINDO Public Policy Observer Agus Pambagio, as all institutions in the health sector have their own regulations. The House of Representatives is discussing the bill and plans to pass it this year.
Indonesia to Set Its Own CPO Benchmark Price
The government plans to establish its own crude palm oil (CPO) benchmark price by the end of the year, according to the Futures Exchange Supervisory Board (Bappebti). The aim is to increase transparency in the trade of CPO, given that Indonesia is among the world’s biggest palm oil exporters. Currently, the CPO trade relies on pricing data from abroad and exporters conduct sales directly with buyers without going through an exchange.
Starting in June, CPO exporters will need to go through the futures exchange before conducting shipments, while refined palm products will still be allowed to be exported directly.
Social Assistance Planned Ahead of Ramadan
President Joko Widodo has announced the government’s plan to distribute social assistance ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in the form of food such as rice, eggs, and chicken. This anticipates the usual rising prices before, during, and after Ramadan, and will be spread over three months. Ramadan is slated to begin on March 22 or 23.
Media reports say food prices have already started to rise, with spices and vegetables more expensive in early March. The National Food Agency (Bapanas) has reassured the public that stocks for the first quarter of 2023 are secure. However, it also cautioned that high rainfall and pests could destabilize food stocks and prices.
Jokowi Calls for Action After Deadly Plumpang Fuel Depot Fire
President Joko Widodo has called for action after 19 people were killed in a fire at the Pertamina Fuel Depot in Plumpang, North Jakarta, on the evening of March 3. It took firefighters until the following morning to extinguish the fire, which spread to nearby houses in a densely populated area. The government will either relocate residents living near the depot or relocate the depot far from settlements, said the President.
The decision on which option to follow rests with the State-Owned Enterprises Minister, Pertamina and the Governor of Jakarta. There has been speculation that the depot might be relocated to one of the abandoned artificial islands in Jakarta. It also remains unclear whether relocating residents will be widely accepted.
Locals said there have been several previous fires at the depot, and for Pertamina this latest incident comes less than two years after the fire at its Balongan Refinery in 2021. The President has also asked for similar facilities to be audited to prevent any future incidents.
Gov't to Arrange Quota System for Rooftop Solar Power
The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources will apply a quota mechanism for rooftop solar power plant (PLTS) users for households and the industrial sector, through the revision of Ministerial Regulation 26/2021. The upcoming regulation will free customers from installation capacity limits set by state electricity company PLN. Under the quota system, rooftop solar power plant users are not allowed to export or sell their electricity to PLN.
The Rooftop Solar Power Plants Users Association (Perplatsi) disagrees with the plan, saying it will complicate the installation process, especially for household usage, and ultimately discourage use of the panels. The ministry will have further discussions with PLN to determine the quotas, taking into account current supply and capacity.
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AmCham Update is AmCham's regular newsletter on developments related to the pandemic crisis and other issues in Indonesia. It is edited by AmCham Managing Director A Lin Neumann and written by the AmCham Staff. Paul L Goddard