TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Central Statistics Agency (BPS) chief Suhariyanto has revealed one item other than rice that remains a factor affecting Indonesia’s poverty: cigarettes. He explained that public’s need for cigarettes had affected the country’s poverty rate since they were also consumed by the poor.
“One of the poor’s largest consumption is cigarettes,” said Suhariyanto in a discussion on poverty at the Communication and Information Ministry (Kominfo) on Monday, July 30.
Earlier, Suhariyanto said the poverty rate dropped 9.82 percent in March of 2018. “The first time the poverty rate was at a single digit number,” he said.
He further explained that since 2002 Indonesia’s poverty had gradually tumbled, ending at 633.2 thousand people breaking free from the poverty rate in 2018. Compared to 2017 that saw 26.58 million impoverished people, 2018 saw it down to 25.95 million people.
Other items affecting poverty are rice, beef, eggs, instant noodles, and sugar. Other than food consumption, gas prices, electricity tariffs, education, and bathroom utilities are also among the contributory factors.
BPS is currently pushing for cigarette’s tax and excise to be increased to help reduce the number of cigarette consumption, as talks of doing so have taken place in the past.