Thursday, 21 November 2019

State Banks Backed Corporations Linked to Forest Fires: Watchdog

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Laila Afifa

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  • Fire fighters try to extinguish a fire at a peatland in Kampar, Riau province, Indonesia, September 24, 2019. Forest fires in Jambi, Indonesia, turn the sky red, making it look like Mars. The forests burn every year during the dry season, but this is the first time the sky turned red and the air quality is now too dangerous for people. Antara Foto/Rony Muharrman

    Fire fighters try to extinguish a fire at a peatland in Kampar, Riau province, Indonesia, September 24, 2019. Forest fires in Jambi, Indonesia, turn the sky red, making it look like Mars. The forests burn every year during the dry season, but this is the first time the sky turned red and the air quality is now too dangerous for people. Antara Foto/Rony Muharrman

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The association for Indonesia’s justice and transformation (TuK Indonesia) announced that they have proof of state-owned banks that funded companies affiliated with this year’s massive land and forest fires

    “Out of the top ten banks that funded the corporations that are affiliated with forest fires, Indonesian banks represent the largest part of the funding with a collective US$3 billion. The single largest loan was from Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI),” said TuK Indonesia director executive, Edi Sutrisno, in Central Jakarta on Wednesday, Oct. 30.

    This report follows the investigation by the watchdog on investments and fundings behind the 64 corporations responsible for forest fires. According to Edi, the 64 corporations that have been sealed off by the Environment and Forestry Ministry are actually overseen by 17 main corporations. 

    “The parent companies comprising Austindo, Batu Kawan, Cargill, DSN, Genting Group, Harita Group, LG International, Provident Agro, up to Rajawali Group,” said Edi.

    TuK Indonesia’s investigation concluded that the 17 corporations received loans up to Rp266 trillion since 2015. 

    “What’s interesting is that the largest loan comes from the country’s own BRI with a total of roughly US$1,722 million. This means that our own country - since BRI is an SOE - has facilitated the destruction of the environment and sparked the losses experienced by the state,” Edi continued. 

    Other facts revealed by Edi is that the funding came from 38 percent of Indonesian banks, 34 percent from Chinese banks, and Malaysian banks with 21 percent, while other banks from Singapore and Japan also funded the corporations that are affiliated with the land and forest fires.

    GALUH PUTRI RIYANTO