TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Trade Minister Rachmat Gobel on Thursday reissued license to import 600,000 tons of raw sugar for refined sugar mills to maintain supplies for food and beverage industry and prevent the spread of illegal imported sugar.
The import license is valid from July to September this year. Rachmat claimed the issuance of the license had gone through the evaluation on sugar stocks and demands for industry. He also stressed that this import license is important to curb the spread of illegal sugar, especially in border areas.
There have been reports that refined sugar was spread among non-industrial consumers. “If the needs for refined sugar are met, illegal imported sugar can be prevented,” said Gobel.
This year, the government issues sugar import license up to 2.8 million tons to 11 importers. From that quote, around 672,000 tons were issued in the first quarter while in the second quarter, the government issued license to import 945,000 tons. The Industry Ministry also recommended to import 1.5 million tons for April-June and July-September.
Industry Ministry director general for agro-industry Panggah Susanto said the import quota had accommodated food and beverage industry’s needs.
According to Panggah, import license requests had to be done for two quarters at once because of urgent needs. He said sugar should have been imported in February. “We failed to do that because we needed time to reach out to distributors,” said Panggah.
The number of requests in the second and third quarter are higher than the beginning of the year. Panggah said it was to anticipate the surge in needs during Idul Fitri.
URSULA FLORENE SONIA