ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Kadin seeks incentives to boost industry in eastern Indonesia
A local business group has urged the government to provide a set of special incentives, which it says are necessary to develop the long-neglected fisheries industry in the eastern part of the country.
Among the specific incentives proposed by the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) are a single-digit loan interest rate, sizeable power generation, tax cuts for the importation of capital goods and public-private partnerships in fishing-port management.
Kadin deputy chairman for maritime affairs and fisheries Yugi Prayanto said on Tuesday that such incentives would be essential to attract investors to explore the untapped potential of eastern Indonesia.
“There should be better incentives [in eastern Indonesia] than in the central and western parts of Indonesia. Otherwise, business players will prefer to invest in the western part as the market is already there due to the larger population,” he told reporters in a press conference at his office.
Indonesia, the world’s biggest archipelago with 17,000 islands, has so far focused little on the development of its sea-based industries.
However, the new government of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has emphasized maritime issues with its “maritime-axis” policy.
The domestic fishing industry, which includes fish cultivation, produced 19.57 million tons of fishery produce last year, of which catch-fishing produced 5.86 million tons from Indonesia’s seas, still well below its potential, according to some estimates.
The domestic fisheries industry is expected to generate US$4.1 billion from marine-produce exports this year, but the figure is much lower than the $10.1 billion expected by neighboring Thailand.
Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti has vowed to adopt a “business-oriented” approach to managing marine resources, particularly to empowering small-scale fishing operations in a bid to make the business more profitable.
Former Maluku governor Karel Ralahalu said at the same event that among the major problems faced by fishermen were expensive fuel, mismanaged docks and power-supply shortages, which hindered post-catch activities.
Maluku has three fish-catch areas covering the Seram Sea, Banda Sea and Arafura Sea and operates 12 government-funded fishing docks, which are still under-utilized.
It contributes around 1.72 million tons to the national marine products obtained through catch fishing.
“In terms of infrastructure, we have these 12 fishing ports built by the government. But since they were set up, there have been no programs to stimulate the growth of the fisheries industry in these three seas,” said Karel, who formerly headed the association of islands’ administrations comprising seven island provinces, including Riau Islands, Bangka Belitung and Maluku.
Similarly, former governor of Gorontalo Tony Uloli pointed out the shortage of electricity supply, which left the fish-processing industry in the eastern part of the country in limbo.
Power generation should shift to more affordable options, such as gas and coal, to allow for cheaper power sources and to revive the ailing industry, said Tony, who is also the head of Kadin’s Supreme Advisory Council.
“There should be better incentives [in eastern Indonesia] than in the central and western parts of Indonesia.”
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