27 July 1998
Indonesia acts to combat commodity racket

INDONESIA is poised to ban the export of several subsidised commodities in the face of evidence of fraudulent and corrupt trading.

Government attempts to keep the prices of imported essentials like rice affordable have been subverted by officials and traders selling off supplies on the world market.

The fraud has created problems for the countrys budget, a large part of which has gone to supporting the subsidised commodities.

The government will publish soon a full list of banned commodities. It will allow exports of crude palm oil and its by-products, which used to be banned but now carry high export taxes. Exports of other commodities would eventually be taxed as well, rather than stopped altogether.

The subsidies were introduced to stop potential social unrest.

  • Financial Times 27/07/98 page 2