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July 05, 2014

Indonesia news channel 5th. 2014

Jakarta Post Latest News

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The Jakarta Post News Channel
Updated: 21 min 21 sec ago

Presidential election attracts more people, says KJRI Jeddah

21 min 21 sec ago
Cultural attaché for the Indonesian Consulate (KJRI) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Syarif Shahabudin, said that voter participation in the presidential election was predicted to be much higher than the legislative election in April.
In a press release made available to The Jakarta Post, Syarif said that 7,746 Indonesians had voted at Jeddah’s six polling stations on July 4. 
However, including those that had voted through the dropbox method in 12 cities in the working area of Jeddah, 11,089 people had exercised their right to vote.
In comparison, 8,125 people voted during the legislative elections in April in Jeddah.
According to the General Elections Commission (KPU), the overseas vote will be held in 131 cities worldwide from July 4 to 6.
The KPU has registered 188.26 million domestic voters and 2.03 million overseas voter for the 2014 presidential election. There will be 478,883 polling stations set up in regions across the country and 498 abroad.(fss)
Categories: Indonesian News

Jokowi to help sports, says former gold medalist

21 min 21 sec ago
Former shuttler Taufik Hidayat said that he supported presidential candidate Joko "Jokowi" Widodo because he believed Jokowi cared about the welfare of athletes.
"Not just athletes, but everyone," he said on Saturday as broadcasted on Metro TV.
During the 'Two Finger Salute' concert held at the Bung Karno Stadium in Senayan, Jakarta, on Saturday, Taufik said every time he met Jokowi, the presidential candidate always asked him about the world of Indonesian sport.
He said he felt Jokowi was not offering empty promises when he talked about developing the sports sector, as Taufik felt previous candidates had done.
Furthermore, Taufik said that he felt touched that many people from Jakarta and other cities came to the concert to show their support to Jokowi.
Categories: Indonesian News

Legendary comedian proudly displays 'Two Finger Salute'

21 min 21 sec ago
Indonesian comedian Margono, widely known as Gogon, has declared his support for presidential candidate Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and running mate Jusuf Kalla during the 'Two Finger Salute' concert at the Bung Karno Stadium in Senayan, Jakarta on Saturday.
"I support Jokowi because my heart says I must," he said in front of thousands of Jokowi-Kalla supporters, as reported bykompas.com.
He said Jokowi was willing to work for the people and he seemed honest. 
Furthermore, he said Jokowi listened to other people's opinions.
Gogon also said that a large majority of the legendary comedy group Srimulat, of which he is part of, also supported Jokowi .
The concert started at 2 p.m. and was attended by hundreds of people waving flags and banners to show their support for the presidential ticket.
As many as 200  famous musicians, including rock band Slank, the Jogja Hip Hop Foundation, God Bless and composer Erwin Gutawa, are scheduled to perform. (fss)

Categories: Indonesian News

Indonesians in Oz enthusiast on election day

21 min 21 sec ago
The Overseas Elections Committee (PPLN) Melbourne chair, Victoria Isvet Novera, expressed her surprise at the turnout for the first day of oversees voting for the presidential election in Melbourne, Australia on Saturday.
"This is incredible, way beyond our expectations. There were already voters waiting when officials arrived at 8 a.m.," she said, as reported by kompas.com.
There are around 12,000 voters registered to vote at the polling stations at the Indonesian Consulate General in Melbourne. The polling station is open from 10 a.m. local time to 8 p.m.
Isvet said that more people would vote in the presidential election in comparison to the legislative election in April, which only saw around 20 percent of those registered in Melbourne voting.
"I was originally uninterested in politics, but lately I feel the call to participate because I see hope for change. I didn't vote during the legislative election," Join Silica, an art student from Medan, said on Saturday.
Adil Basuki, another Indonesian living in Melbourne, came with his wife and child to cast his vote. He too said that he had only been encouraged to vote recently.
"It is a new era so I feel like I must be involved," he said.
Voters in Sydney, Adelaide, Canberra and Brisbane cast their vote on Saturday, in Western Australia the polls are open on Sunday.
According to the General Elections Commission (KPU), overseas elections will be held in over 131 cities worldwide between July 4 to 6. 
The KPU has registered 188.26 million domestic voters and 2.03 million voters overseas for the 2014 presidential election. There will be 478,883 polling stations set up across the country and 498 overseas. (fss)
Categories: Indonesian News

13 election organizers dismissed for losing impartiality

21 min 21 sec ago
The Election Organization Ethics Council (DKPP) has fired 13 more employees of the General Elections Commission (KPU) and the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) due to violations of the code of ethics.
The DKPP received 3,045 complaints after the legislative elections — 178 were heard in court and 106 have already been resolved and as many as 98 election organization employees have been dismissed. 
DKPP chairman Jimly Asshidique said that the 13 members were proven to be biased and had not maintained independence, as reported by tribunnews.com.
"There were indications that influential bribes had been accepted," he said at the DKPP headquarters in Jakarta on Friday.
So far, the DKPP has decided to dismiss two members of KPU Batam; one from KPU Samosir; one from KPU North Minahasa; five commissioners and one secretary from KPU Tual; two members of the KPU Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi; and one member of Bawaslu Maluku.
Jimly said that more violations could occur, especially as there were only two presidential tickets. (fss)

Categories: Indonesian News

Jokowi to attend 'Two Finger Salute' concert

21 min 21 sec ago
Presidential candidate Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has promised to attend the 'Two Finger Salute' concert held at the Bung Karno Stadium in Senayan, Jakarta on Saturday.
"Since I'm in Jakarta, I will attend,” Jokowi said in Menteng, Central Jakarta on Saturday, as reported by kompas.com.
The concert has been organized by several renowned Indonesian musicians and artists, such as rock band Slank, composer Erwin Gutawa and film director Mira Lesmana, to show their support for the Jokowi-Jusuf Kalla presidential ticket. 
The Jakarta Police have deployed 1,403 personnel to ensure the safety of the concert and to assist with the extra traffic due to the thousands of people who are estimated to attend.
"This is one of our duties, to secure activities that attract a lot of people," Tanah Abang Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Anom Setyadji said at the stadium on Friday.
He added that the police would be designated to three areas: Stage, VIP and those outside the concert. (fss)
Categories: Indonesian News

Police readying for elections

21 min 21 sec ago
The National Police operational-assistance chief, Insp. Gen. Arif Wachyunadi, has said that they will start deploying personnel to polling stations on Saturday, the last day of the open campaign period.
"However, for difficult territories such as Papua, Aceh, and others, most have probably already been deployed," he said at the National Police headquarters on Friday, as reported by tribunnews.com.
Arif said that the timing of deployment depended on where the polling stations were. All police personnel must be at their stations by July 8 and stay there until July 9.
Afterward, the police will supervise the vote recapitulation process from the Subdistrict Polling Committee (PPS) level and eventually move up to secure the recounts at the Provincial General Elections Commission (KPUD) level. 
"The police must secure ballot papers and boxes for 24 hours, until all the supporting materials are  moved," he said.
Previously, National Police chief Gen. Sutarman said the police would deploy 254,088 personnel to provide security during the election and would receive assistance from more than 35,000 military personnel and 900,000 civilian community guards (Linmas).
Of that number, 30,000 will safeguard the capital before, during and after the election. (fss)

Categories: Indonesian News

Press Council blasts ‘lenient’ Press Law in 'Obor Rakyat' case

21 min 21 sec ago
The Press Council lamented the the power of the 1999 Press Law in the controversial Obor Rakyat fraudulent journalism case.
On Friday, National Police chief Gen. Sutarman said on Friday that Setiyardi Budiono and Darmawan Sepriyossa, who have been named suspects, allegedly violated Article 9 of the Press Law and would be subject to a maximum penalty of Rp 100 million (US$8,426).
"This [fine] is too light. If I was the subject of slander then I would have thought that was unfair," head of the commission of complaints at the Press Council, M. Ridlo Eisy, said on Friday, as reported by tribunnews.com.
Setiyardi is an assistant to the special presidential staff in President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s administration, while Darmawan is senior editor of online news portal inilah.com.
The National Police began their investigation after the campaign team of presidential candidate Joko “Jokowi” Widodo filed a police report in June, accusing the two of publishing hate speech and defamation, which included naming Jokowi as a Christian of Chinese descent.
In addition, the two had broken the Press Law, as it clearly states a press company must be legally registered, have a clear address and the editorial head must also be clear.
"This is not a journalistic product. We do not want to be connected to it. It is not in the field of the press or journalism," he said.
Due to this, Ridlo said that the Setiyardi and Darmawan should have been named suspects of a general criminal offense for defamation. The Press Council has also asked for the police to charge them under the Criminal Code.
"This should be under the Criminal Code, so the police should use that. It is not a product of the press, so why are they using the press law?" he said.
Previously, the National Police said that they had not found enough evidence to charge the two suspects with defamation, as stipulated in articles 310 and 311 of the Criminal Code and have summoned Jokowi as a witness and victim in the case. (fss)

Categories: Indonesian News

Landslide in Papua kills nine

21 min 21 sec ago
Following heavy downpour, a landslide occurred at a mine in Paniai district, Papua, killing nine and leaving another four buried, according to the Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) on Friday night.
The deceased are identified as Lukman, Iwan, Alafa, Mardi, Arifin, Supriyanto, Subaedi, Al and another unidentified victim. The landslide also damaged a house.
BPBD officials are working with local authorities to search for the four still buried victims. The landslide also damaged local communication infrastructure and only satellite phones are working in the area.(dic)
Categories: Indonesian News

A5 forms point to high voter turnout

21 min 21 sec ago
With the July 9 presidential election approaching, Subdistrict Polling Committee (PPS) officials are receiving a greater than expected number of A5 forms, which enable voters to cast their ballot at a different polling station than the one they are registered at on the final voter list (DPT).
Abdul Latif, PPS official in Palmerah subdistrict, West Jakarta, said more than 100 out of the total 53,083 voters registered to vote in his area were A5 form holders.
 “The number is increasing, and probably is 90 percent greater than it was for April 9 [the legislative election]. Perhaps, there is a different spirit in the presidential election, because the level of public enthusiasm is very high. More voters want to exercise their right to vote,” Abdul told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
A PPS official in Menteng, Central Jakarta, A. Suharyana, echoed Abdul Latif, saying the presidential election would see high turnout in his area. He counted that at least 100 out of the total 22,331 voters registered in his area were holders of the A5 form.
“It is obvious that the presidential election brings greater enthusiasm, because we only have two presidential candidate pairs, while a lot of legislative candidates are unknown to the public. Many voters have come to us to make sure they are registered in this election,” he said.
In Menteng’s Gondangdia district, 165 out of the total 3,660 voters registered in the area hold A5 form.
“The growth is more than 100 percent if compared to 47 voters in the legislative election. Perhaps, the public saw the campaign period during the legislative election as more related to certain interests, while the presidential election is purer,” said Gondangdia PPS official Wanthy.
She said PPS officials in Gondangdia had made sure voters knew the procedure to obtain the A5 form before the June 20 deadline set by the General Elections Commission (KPU).
As a high-end area, there are a high number of non-locals working in the Gondangdia neighborhood.
“This is a ‘ring one’ [elite] area, where a household can employ at least three to five domestic workers, personal drivers and other employees. We also realized that they would not return to their villages soon for Idul Fitri because it is still early in Ramadhan. So, we told their employers and RT [neighborhood units] to recommend them to register for the A5 form,” she said.
Previously, the KPU had reminded voters living outside their hometown to fill out the required A5 form at their home PPS 10 days before the election.
KPU commissioner Hadar Gumay said voters unable to return home could go to the regency and city-level election commissions to request the form.
The voters must submit the A5 form to the PPS where they intend to vote by July 6, three days before the election. These voters will be included in additional final voter list (DPTb).
The KPU has registered 188.26 million domestic voters and 2.03 million voters overseas for the 2014 presidential election. There will be around 478,883 polling stations domestically and 498 polling stations abroad. (gda)
Categories: Indonesian News

Illegal cigarette factory in Semarang shut down

1 hour 50 min ago
The Tanjung Emas Customs and Excise Office (KPPBC) in Semarang has raided and closed down an illegal cigarette factory in the Candi industrial zone in Semarang, Central Java.
"We raided the illegal cigarette factory on June 24. We also arrested the main suspect, known as GW. Right now he is being detained at the Kedung Pane Semarang Prison. From the statements we received from the witnesses, we now know that the factory had been in operation for the past one-and-a-half years," Tanjung Emas Semarang KPPBC chief Ardiyanto said on Friday.
In the raid, officers confiscated six cigarette manufacturing machines capable of producing 1,200 cigarettes per minute, one Daihatsu Luxio car, raw materials for cigarette making, mixed tobacco, cigarette paper, glue and filters. Furthermore, they also confiscated 99 cigarette cartons containing 1.58 million cigarettes and security camera equipment. 
The factory has produced an estimated 378 million cigarettes without paying taxes. Since the excise is Rp 245 (2 US cents) per cigarette, those illegal cigarettes lost the state Rp 92.61 billion in potential revenue, he said.
If found guilty, the suspect faces a maximum five years in prison and fines totaling 10 times the unpaid excise.
Tanjung Emas KPPBC head of investigation and enforcement Tutut Basuki added that GW received orders to produce specific brands of cigarettes. (fss/dic)

Categories: Indonesian News

OJK moves up a gear on financial literacy

1 hour 50 min ago
Teachers are laypersons after all, including economics teachers. More than two years after the establishment of the Financial Services Authority (OJK), many of these teachers are still clueless about the superbody’s role in the economy.

Pieter L. Maurits was not sure about the OJK’s role in society. The high school teacher from Ambon, Maluku province, was aware it existed, but could not quite place its position among other state agencies, such as Bank Indonesia (BI).

“I know what BI does, but the OJK is still a somewhat vague concept,” he said recently.

Budiyono, a teacher from Semarang, Central Java, was just as clueless as Pieter. “How does the OJK differ from Bapepam-LK [the Capital Market and Financial Institution Supervisory Agency]?” he asked.

Little did Budiyono know, the Bapepam was no longer around and that its functions had been taken over by the OJK in 2013.

These teachers are the target audience of a training forum held on July 2 to July 3 by the OJK, Education and Culture Ministry and the Economics Teachers’ Association, which aims to boost the financial literacy of teachers.

The forum was attended by 70 economics teachers, who hailed from all 34 provinces across the archipelago. These teachers could pass on the knowledge to their students, so they can become more knowledgeable about the available facilities to access finance and better manage their money.

OJK commissioner for education and consumer protection Kusumaningtuti S. Soetiono said that the superbody expected the training to eventually help boost Indonesians’ financial literacy to the same level currently reported by peers Malaysia and Singapore.

“About 62 percent of our population lives in rural areas and inlands. That’s why we are coordinating with the Education and Culture Ministry to spread knowledge, but it will take more than five years to do that,” she said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Education and Culture Minister Musliar Kasim said that the training was part of the ministry’s and OJK’s effort to prepare them to begin educating students and their fellow teachers about the OJK and existing financial services institutions.

“Tenth grade students will be taught a subject on the OJK starting this year. It’s part of the new curriculum,” he said.

Musliar admitted that there was unequal knowledge of financial institutions across the country.
“Let’s be frank, most of us find out about insurance and banking products after we graduate from college,” he said.

The shallow knowledge is in line with the OJK’s and World Bank’s studies’ findings that say only 20 to 30 percent of Indonesia’s total population have access to financial products or are financially literate.

This was somewhat reflected on the first day of the forum, when the teachers underwent a “pre-test”, conducted to measure the teachers’ knowledge. According to the results, the best teacher only scored 77.5 out of 100, while the lowest score stood at 27.5.

During a session, the teachers fell into a trap prepared by the OJK when the forum’s moderator offered them an “investment opportunity”.

Under the “investment scheme”, teachers were offered hefty return if they were willing to deposit Rp 1 million (US$84) per person. The funds would be used to assist the reproduction of OJK books.

“We still need Rp 10 billion for the books and are hoping you can fill the funding gap,” the moderator said.

Hands then sprung, representing dozens of interested teachers, but they could only giggle sheepishly when they found out that they had been “duped”.

At the end of the training, Wiji Purwanto, the association’s head, said that it would consider holding another training forum for its 20,686 members.

“We conducted a post-test to see how they fared after two days. Four teachers got the highest score with 90. Not bad. They’re ready,” he said.
Categories: Indonesian News

Deposit rate will continue to rise in second half

3 hours 19 min ago
Bank Indonesia (BI) and rating agency Moody’s Investors Service predict that banks will continue to raise time deposit rates in the second half of this year as they compete for customers’ funds against the backdrop of a tight liquidity environment.

“These banks are still chasing credit growth. To do that, they need to secure funds by raising the deposit rate that will hopefully attract customers’ [funds],” BI Deputy Governor Halim Alamsyah, who is also an ex-officio member of the Financial Services Authority (OJK), said Friday.

BI has told banks to put the brakes on lending to avoid consumption growing too fast. The central bank embarked on the most aggressive tightening cycle in the past eight years by raising its benchmark interest rate by 175 basis points last year to 7.5 percent.

Since then, banks have competed to grab third-party funds at the cost of their net interest margin (NIM) being squeezed. NIM, the difference between the credit rate charged to customers and deposit rate owed to customers, is an indicator of profitability for a bank.

According to central bank observations, the deposit rate increase is specifically aimed at big clients with large funds, such as those with funds of over Rp 25 billion (US$2.1 million) per person.

Halim said that BI would be watchful of the situation, adding that banks should comply with the credit growth guideline set by financial regulators late last year.

Both BI and the OJK set this year’s credit growth at 15 to 17 percent, lower than the 20 to 22 percent recorded in previous years. The third-party funds growth is also set at an almost similar rate, which is 14 to 15 percent.

“We do not want to see banks pursuing excessive credit growth and set a much higher interest rate because it will potentially raise their NPL [non-performing loans] ratio,” he said, adding that it would also affect their NIMs.

Indonesian banks are among the most profitable lenders in the world as they are still able to charge relatively high interest rates to banking customers. That translates to high NIM and high profitability.

However, the banking industry has seen its average NIM slowly decline since BI decided to jack up its benchmark interest rate gradually between June and November 2013.

The latest data from the OJK showed that the average NIM stood at 4.3 percent in April, down from 5.4 percent a year ago.

Meanwhile, Moody’s confirmed BI’s conviction in its latest report, saying that competition for deposits would remain intense over the 12 to 18 months, seen by the significant increase in rates offered on deposits.

“We expect competition for deposits to remain intense over the next 12-18 months, given the high system average loan-to-deposit ratio of about 90 percent on March 31, 2014, which was only slightly lower than the regulatory limit of 92 percent,” Moody’s assistant vice president and analyst, Alka Anbarasu, said.

In the year to March 31, according to Moody’s, the rates offered on new one-month, three-month and six-month deposits rose 248 basis points (bps), 273 bps and 218 bps, respectively.

The increases reflected higher policy rates, but were significantly higher than the increases in the policy rates between June and November, it said.

“System-wide net interest margins, on the other hand, fell to 4.3 percent at end-March 2014 from an average of 5.4 percent between 2012 and 2013,” Moody’s added.

However, despite the NIM contraction, Moody’s upheld its optimism that Indonesian banks would remain among the most profitable globally.
Categories: Indonesian News

Viva aims at foreign investors for private placement

3 hours 19 min ago
PT Visi Media Asia (VIVA), the media group belonging to tycoon Aburizal Bakrie, is considering selling 10 percent shares of its subsidiary Intermedia Capital (IMC) in a private placement, in the hope of raising US$105 million to refinance its debts.

VIVA vice president director Robertus Bismarka on Thursday said that the company was looking for ways to restructure its debt to the Singapore-chapter of Swiss bank Credit Suisse. He added that the media firm would likely resort to both private placement and bond issuances.

Robertus said the company might carry out the private placement before offering the bonds to adjust to VIVA’s plan to hold an overseas road show.

“We are targeting foreign investors for private placement. We have scheduled a road show to several European and Asian countries in October,” he explained.

The shares to be allotted are those of IMC, the operator of free-to-air television station ANTV.

Robertus said VIVA opted to release 10 percent of IMC shares as the subsidiary still had a lot of opportunities in the fund-raising plan, given that VIVA still dominated ownership in the newly-listed company.

VIVA holds about a 90 percent stake in IMC, while the public owns 10 percent of the shares.

By releasing 10 percent of IMC shares, Robertus said VIVA hoped to pool $105 million to pay off almost half of its remaining debt to Credit Suisse.

VIVA entered into a $230 million credit agreement with Credit Suisse in November last year. The proceeds of the loan were used to repay its outstanding loans, boost its liquidity, and for its working capital and capital expenditure (capex).

VIVA had previously planned to pay off some of the debt from the funds raised in IMC’s initial public offering (IPO) in April, but the money generated from the subsidiary’s public debut was far below the holding company’s expectations.

VIVA targeted to earn a maximum Rp 1.13 trillion ($109.58 million) from the public offering, of which 10 percent had been allocated to refinance its loans, but it ended up reaping only Rp 541.17 billion.

Due to the unsatisfying IPO result, VIVA must explore other potential avenues to refinance the remaining $220 million debt. Such avenues include issuing bonds and seeking domestic loans for refinancing, besides the private placement.

Robertus explained that the media firm was still studying the bond issuance plan, and would wait for better market conditions to execute the plan.

“We, however, want our new loans to be in rupiah and not in US dollar to avoid currency volatility. We are still studying the available options to better suit the market, be it from domestic bank loans or bonds,” he explained.

Viva has prepared Rp 900 billion for capex this year, a significant increase compared to Rp 400 billion last year.

The capex would be used to finance the company in building new television studios and developing its online streaming platform VIVALL and pay television service VIVA+.

VIVALL was launched in May and has generated about 600,000 subscribers with 1.3 million screen views from Android and iOS.
Categories: Indonesian News

Astra Daihatsu, Astra Agro Lestari to increase production capacities

3 hours 19 min ago
High achievers: Permata Bank corporate affairs executive vice president Leila Djafaar (right) converses with PT Astra International treasury and investor relations chief Iwan Hadiantoro (second right), Astra public relations head Yulian Warman (second left) and Astra environment and social responsibility head Riza Deliansyah at an Astra media gathering at the fX center in Central Jakarta on Friday. At the event, Astra International also launched Satu Indonesia, a program to recruit young Indonesian achievers to develop innovation and creativity in the country. (JP/Jerry Adiguna)
Automotive manufacturer Astra Daihatsu Motor and plantation firm Astra Agro Lestari (AALI) are looking to produce higher volumes of cars and palm oil this year to penetrate the domestic market.

Iwan Hadiantoro, treasury and investor relations group chief of the two firms’ parent firm Astra International (ASII), said the diversified conglomerate was hoping to see the total production capacity of Astra Daihatsu Motor increase by around 70,000 to 80,000 units this year.

With the new capacity, Daihatsu will be able to produce between 530,000 and 540,000 units by the end of the year.

“The process is ongoing and is taking place at both Daihatsu factories. They are running at full capacity now,” Iwan said.

Daihatsu has produced 460,000 cars at its two factories in Sunter, North Jakarta, and Karawang, West Java. Its sales figure reached 79,402 units as of May, making up 14.9 percent of total domestic sales.

“Demand for four-wheelers remains strong. At the moment, car penetration in the domestic market is still low, about 5 percent of the total population,” he said during a media gathering on Friday.

Iwan said that funds for the capacity expansion came from the
Rp 20 trillion (US$1.68 billion) in capital expenditure budget that Astra International had allocated for 2014.

Besides Daihatsu, Astra International also manufactures other vehicles under the Isuzu, UD Trucks, Toyota and Peugeot brands.

In total, Astra International sold 277,056 units in May, rising slightly by 3.3 percent year-on-year.

Despite the slight growth, Indonesian Automotive Industry Association (Gaikindo) data shows that Astra continues to dominate the automotive market with 52 percent.

“We are also looking to expand exports of LCGCs [low-cost green cars] in the region, but have not decided on the time. Right now we are exporting them to the Philippines only,” he said.

Meanwhile, palm oil producer Astra Agro is aiming to start operating its three new plants later this year to boost output.

Astra Agro head of investor relations, Rudy Lumardjo, said on Friday that the new plants were located in East Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan and West Sulawesi, with each plant having a production capacity of 45 tons of crude palm oil (CPO) per hour.

“This will add to our current production capacity of 1,280 tons of CPO per hour from our 26 existing plants,” he said.

Astra Agro head of public relations Tofan Mahdi added that the current period of unpredictable weather would unlikely influence his firm’s production capacity.

“We have a good water management system in which we can adjust how much water we need to use to water our plantation both during dry and wet seasons,” he said.

The firm had a total of 282,600 hectares of planted areas with a total production of 707,000 tons as of May.

Astra Agro’s CPO sales dropped by 15.7 percent year-on-year (y-o-y) to 540,887 tons between January and May, in accordance with the company’s effort to boost its olein production.

Olein is a derivative product of CPO that is commonly used to produce biodiesel.

Astra Agro started producing olein this year to meet growing demand for biodiesel in the country.

The firm also saw a significant increase in average selling price (ASP) for its CPO produce, ascending by 34.5 percent in yearly basis to reach Rp 8,842 per kilogram during the first five months of the year.

The average selling price hike contributed to the firm’s net profit increase in the first quarter after suffering from a 25 percent drop in annual profit last year.

Astra Agro doubled its net profits to Rp 784.6 billion in the first three months of the year, compared to Rp 356.4 billion year-on-year.

ASII’s shares remained flat on Friday’s trading on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) at Rp 7,350 apiece compared to a day before. AALI’s shares climbed 1 percent on Friday to Rp 27,500 apiece.
Categories: Indonesian News

Govt mulls issuing rules on liquor packaging

3 hours 19 min ago
The government is considering issuing a regulation on liquor that would require manufacturers to either use plain packaging or place graphic warnings on packaging in a bid to lower the number of alcoholic beverage consumers.

Deputy Trade Minister Bayu Krisnamurthi confirmed on Friday, saying that the regulation was being drafted. The requirement to use the specific packaging will apply to liquor with alcohol content of 20 percent or above.

“We want people to be warned about the dangers of consuming alcoholic drinks. We see a lot of problems caused by the habit, including pertaining to health and crimes, among other things,” he told reporters at his office.

The specific time frame of when the new policy would be rolled out was still unclear, as the government still needed to talk to stakeholders about the draft, Bayu further said.

The planned issuance of the regulation would comply with global trade rules issued by the World Trade Organization (WTO), he added.

Australia issued stricter packaging rules for cigarettes in 2012, requiring manufacturers to use uniform green packets with white labelling.

Indonesia, along with four other nations — Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Ukraine — has challenged the policy to the international commerce body, arguing that it is primarily inconsistent with global trade rules and intellectual property rights of brands.

In controlling the sales of alcoholic drinks, Indonesia chooses to monitor them by ensuring that purchases are made by individuals above 21 years of age with ID proof. Stores must also place the drinks in specially designated spaces. It also curbs importation through import licenses and delivery quantity.

This year, the Trade Ministry also lowered the quota for alcoholic drink imports by 7 percent to 4.6 million liters from last year.

The liquor industry in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, has long been subject to a variety of restrictions.

Local administrations have placed different rules, from totally prohibiting sales to placing high excise to control the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Bylaws in Tangerang, Indramayu and Bandung, West Java, for instance, have banned sales of alcoholic drinks in supermarkets, minimarkets, shops and jamu (herbal drink) kiosks.

In a recent move, the Industry Ministry plans to demand producers and importers of alcoholic drinks to verify their production capacities, output and sales. Manufacturers also need to secure a recommendation from the ministry when they want to expand.

The industry is also still limited to foreign direct investment (FDI), while production should meet a quota set by the government.

Indonesian Food and Beverages Association (Gapmmi) secretary-general Franky Sibarani requested the government to thoroughly consider its planned rule as it might badly affect the industry.

“For drinks with high alcohol content, branding really matters and plain packaging will stimulate a rise in illegal products both from imports and domestic producers,” he said.

The government should also assess the effect of the rule on excise collection and the growth of the domestic industry, Franky further said. Any discussion on the draft should engage related stakeholders, he added.
Categories: Indonesian News

Fatty alcohol exports seen plunging amid safeguard investigation

4 hours 21 min ago
Indonesia expects a considerable drop in exports of fatty alcohol to India following an ongoing safeguard investigation into the product.

The Trade Ministry’s director general for foreign trade, Bachrul Chairi, said Friday that sales of fatty alcohol in India might tumble by between 30 percent and 40 percent of its overall exports, which totaled around US$120 million each year.

“We still consider it within ‘normal’ range and we have taken necessary efforts to reach a solution with India,” he told reporters at his office.

Bachrul further said that Indonesian officials had already addressed this issue with their Indian counterparts, pointing out that the arguments they conveyed would not be strong enough grounds to claim injury in the Indian domestic industry.

Indian authority is now assessing input from countries affected by its probe, according to Bachrul.

India, the worlds biggest buyer of palm oil, launched the investigation into imported fatty alcohol on Feb. 13 following a petition from its domestic industry, which accused that surging imports had caused serious injury.

Along with an upward trend in the import of palm oil derivatives, the share of the domestic industry in its overall sales have decreased, according to India’s notification to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The profitability of its local industry has also significantly dropped, resulting in financial losses.

Under WTO rules, the safeguard investigation could lead to the imposition of punitive duties to counter the negative impact of an influx of imports on the alleging country. That should be placed at the latest 200 days after the probe is initiated.

India has been the largest export destination for palm oil from Indonesia, the world’s top palm oil producer. Last year it bought around 6.1 million tons of palm oil, comprising crude palm oil (CPO) and refined oils, from Indonesia. The figure was a 5.17 percent rise from 2012.

That gave a marked contribution to overall Indonesian palm oil exports at above US$19.2 billion last year, or 13 percent of total non-oil and gas exports, according to the Central Statistics Agency (BPS).

The rise of palm oil derivative imports from Indonesia has been a concern for India in the past few years, as Indonesian producers have boosted their refinery capacities driven by export taxes that keep raw materials local.

Fatty alcohol, along with fatty acid, has become a constant subject of disputes between Indonesia and its trading partners. The European Commission charged antidumping duties in November 2011 on
imported fatty alcohols from Indonesia, claiming that the products were sold to the 28-nation group under production costs or below domestic sales prices.

Indonesia has advanced to the world trade governing body to seek settlement in the dispute.

Deputy Trade Minister Bayu Krisnamurthi said that the estimated decline would be a worst case scenario. However, as Indonesian refiners have already adopted advanced technology for the production of palm oil derivatives, they could easily shift their output from fatty alcohol to other products.

“It [the safeguard investigation] is certainly a concern for us, but we should not worry about it,” he said.
Categories: Indonesian News

New Bolivia law would allow 10-year-olds to work

4 hours 21 min ago
Bolivia's Congress has passed legislation to allow children as young age 10 to work as long as it does not interfere with their education and is done independently to help the child's family make ends meet.
The legislation otherwise lowers the legal working age to 12 — again, as long the job does not interfere with the child's education.
A regional official with the U.N. International Labor Organization, Carmen Moreno, says the legislation passed Wednesday night would make Bolivia the first country to make work by 10-year-olds legal.
Moreno called the legislation worrisome considering that Bolivia is a signatory a U.N. convention that sets 14 as the minimum age for child labor.
The Bolivian legislation is expected to be signed into law shortly by President Evo Morales.
Categories: Indonesian News

Broadway and TV casting director Barry Moss dies

4 hours 21 min ago
Broadway and television casting director Barry Moss, who helped cast nearly 90 Broadway and touring productions, including the 1980 revival of "West Side Story," ''Nine," ''Torch Song Trilogy" and "The Who's Tommy," has died. He was 74.
Moss died June 17 of congestive heart failure in Manhattan, said his partner Bob Kale.
Among his casting credits are the 1995 revival of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," ''Titanic," ''Woman of the Year," ''My One and Only," ''Black and Blue" and "Sweeney Todd," He also was the casting director for "The Cosby Show "and was a founding member of The Casting Society of America.
Moss was a child actor who studied theatre arts at UCLA. He worked for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences before moving to New York to begin a career as a director. He joined the Mort Schwartz Agency, where he was put in charge of the theatrical department. He soon met Julie Hughes, with whom he founded Hughes Moss Casting in 1981. At one point, they had eight shows running simultaneously on Broadway.
Moss is survived by his longtime partner and business associate Kale, nephew Mark Ellman and nieces Laurie Levinsky and Gerry Ellman.
Categories: Indonesian News

Egypt's government raises fuel prices dramatically

4 hours 21 min ago
Egypt's government raised the prices of fuel by up to 78 percent starting Saturday, following on a promise to cut subsidies that eat up nearly a quarter of the state budget, the official news agency reported.
The price hikes, in effect as of Friday midnight, follow an increase in electricity prices that were put in effect at the start of July.
The Cabinet this week amended the government's budget to reduce a staggering deficit.
Newly elected President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, elected to office last month, has said he will need to tackle the tough issue and asked every Egyptian to be ready to sacrifice to help the country's battered economy after three years of turmoil.
The former military chief also asked the government to amend the largest budget in Egypt's history, at $115 billion, to reduce a budget deficit from 12 to 10 percent.
The amended budget featured a $6 billion reduction in the energy subsidy bill, government officials said.
The fuel price rise was highest for 80 octane gasoline, used mostly by old vehicles that still fill Egyptian streets, with the price jumping 78 percent to 22 cents per liter. Diesel fuel, used by most of Egypt's public transport and trucks, increased 64 percent to 25 cents a liter. The 92 octane increased by 40 percent to 37 cents a liter.
Energy and food subsidies eat up about a quarter of Egypt's state budget. The country's successive leaders have balked at reducing them because half of the country's 85 million people live at or below the poverty line of $2 a day and rely on government subsidies of wheat and fuel for survival.
Even though government officials had said over the last week that fuel subsidies would be reduced, the new price scheme was announced only a few hours before the decision was implemented. The decision caused a rush on gas stations, and lines formed outside them before midnight.
Categories: Indonesian News
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