TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Indonesian Consumer`s Foundation (YLKI) lamented the decision of President Joko `Jokowi` Widodo not to increase the cigarette excise. YLKI head Tulus Abadi said the cancellation was an irony and a paradox in the context of consumer protection and public health.
“As in the regulation context, it is a form of anti-regulation because the Law on excise stipulates a raise up to 57 percent,” said Tulus in a written statement, Saturday, Nov 3.
According to Tulus, the decision not to raise the tax on cigarettes proved that the government was too dominantly intervented by the interest of the cigarette industry, especially the huge one. Besides, the government had no vision concerning public health.
Tulus explained the recall would boost the cigarette production and provide products at affordable prices for children, teenager, and low-income family. “That means, the government misleads them to a dependency on consuming cigarette,” he noted.
Other than that, it would affect the performance of the Health and Social Security Agency (BPJS Kesehatan) considering some 35 percent of the country’s population were smokers, and that was one of the main triggers of various catastrophic diseases which could worsen the agency’s finances.
Tulus further opined the government neglected the consumer protection as the tax was a strong instrument to protect them from the threat of cigarette, either for the body or financial health.
The cancellation of the rise of cigarette excise, Tulus continued, would be merely used as a political tool. “The government sacrifices the consumer protection and public health for the sake of short-term interest,” he remarked.