JAKARTA - "Why is rare salt, whereas our sea is so wide? Because the salt sheds contents of cigarettes". The viral anecdotes in social media (socmed) show that Indonesians, despite being in trouble, can still be joking.
The lack of supply of salt in some parts of Indonesia over the last three weeks has boosted salt prices in the market. Various speculations have sprung up with the soaring prices of salt, among which there are accusations of this situation played by the big players of the salt business (cartel).
However, the government has its own pretext that the scarcity of salt this time due to weather conditions do not support salt production in the country. The shortcut to overcome this problem, the government then opened the salt import faucet. Thousands of tons of salt from Australia soon overcame the scarcity of salt in the market.
Speaking of the cartel in the salt business, the Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Susi Pudjiastuti was not willing to point the nose directly, but departed from previous experience when there was a polemic surrounding salt there were indications played by the cartel.
Susi, known for her dreaded program drowns the fishing boat captured ship, revealed that some time ago when a salt import leak was done by a salt importer.
They import more than they should. Half more leaked into the salt consumption market and eventually importers became traders. Now salt importers can no longer play in the salt consumption market. Because the new regulations have been issued regulate the import of salt consumption.
The latest policy only allows PT Garam to handle imports of consumption salt. The reason for the government to appoint State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) is that the control of prices and salt stock can be easier.
The duty of a state-owned enterprise that deals only with salt is not only authorized to import consumption salt as a single importer, but also an extension of the government's hand in salt stabilization at the salt farm level. Therefore, PT Garam will buy and absorb the production of salt farmers that can ensure price stabilization.
Susi Pudjiastuti is optimistic if the salt-owned state-owned enterprises are functioning well, then there will be no more stories in this salt-producing country where salt scarcity, while improving the proper regulation and supervision of salt importers is run by private parties.
The Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (KKP) claims that the salt farmers' welfare issue is part of their responsibility. Therefore, the CTF admitted that it has allocated a budget to the salt farmers every year, such as the budget for geomembrane to make the salt whiter and cleaner so that the price of salt remains high.
Minister Susi believes that from the past the price of domestic production salt is well buffered, then import is only intended for industries that require certain salt and trading system is fully supervised, then the growth room of the domestic salt industry will be better.
Regardless of the cartel issue in the salt business, what do you need to know about the current national salt requirement? Quoting from the data of the Indonesian Salt Users Industry Association (AIPGI), the national salt demand reached 4.23 million tons per year.
The salt requirement for the community (household, fish preservation and salting) reaches 750 thousand tons, while the salt requirement for industry is much larger than the consumption requirement of the community which reaches 3 million tons more per year.
Domestic salt production last year only reached 116 thousand tons from the target of 3 million tons. While the current salt stock is only 112 thousand tons more. Thus, domestic salt production has not been able to cover the needs based on data presented by AIPGI version.