TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Pertamina's Senior Vice President for Fuel Marketing and Distributon Suhartoko said the subsidized fuel quota is expected to run out a week before the start of the new year. According to Suhartoko, a social upheaval may precipitate as a result of the shortage.
Suhartoko believes there was a real possibility that the public would start to stockpile subsidized fuel a week before the quota is expected to run out. "People would begin to stockpile fuel, and there will be social consequences from the shortages, although I'm not sure how the social impact will manifest in real terms," said Suhartoko at the House of Representatives (DPR) Complex in Senayan yesterday.
The social unrest may take the form of panic buying among concerned residents - similar to when the consumption and distribution of subsidized fuels were regulated a short while ago. In order to minimize the social impact when the quota finally runs out, Suhartoko advises the government to find a way to increase the quota in order to meet the demands of the public. "The task for the new administration is to find a way to make the quota less restrictive," said Suhartoko.
Currently, the average daily consumption of Premium, a brand of subsidized fuel marketed by Pertamina, reaches 84,000 kilo litres per day, whereas the consumption of subsidized diesel fuel (marketed by Pertamina as Solar) reaches 45,000 kilo litres per day. Using the data as a benchmark, Pertamina predicts Premium would run out on December 24 and by the end of the year, the quota will be exceeded by 521,367 litres.
As per August 31, as much as 19.7 million kilo litres of Premium were consumed, out of the 29.2 million kilo litres earmarked by the government.
According to Suhartoko, the shortage of fuel will teach Indonesians a valuable lesson - that the government needs enough funding for it to efficiently function. "We urgently need to reduce fuel subsidies. At current levels, we are throwing away Rp292 trillion just to subsidize fuel and LPGs," said Suhartoko, especially given the fact that a significant amount of the quota ends up benefiting owners of private vehicles, as opposed to underprivileged citizens, whom the subsidies are supposed to benefit.