The Minister of Trade: Indonesia is Late in Anticipating an Attack on Cheap Imported Products

The Minister of Trade (Mendag) of the Republic of Indonesia (RI), Enggartiasto Lukita said that Indonesia is late in anticipating the entry of low-price goods from abroad. If this continues, consumer trust in domestic products will continue to decline. For this reason, consumers need to be protected and educated. The role of the Department of Industry and Trade has become very essential as a front line in consumer protection programs.

This was conveyed by the Minister of Trade when opening the National Conference on National Consumer Protection Strategies in order to Synchronize the Consumer Protection and Trade Compliance Policy Year 2020-2024 at the Pullman Vimala Hills Hotel, Ciawi-Bogor (26/9). This activity aimed to improve coordination between the central government and regional governments in consumer protection and orderly trade activities as well as to draft the Strategic Plan of the Directorate General of Consumer Protection and Trade Compliance (Ditjen PKTN) for the period 2020-2024.

Participants in the activity were heads of departments in charge of trade, consumer protection and trade compliance from 34 Indonesian Trade and Industry Offices, echelon I officials within the Ministry of Trade, and echelon II officials within the PKTN Directorate-General.

One of the speakers was Dr Megawati Simanjuntak, an academician from the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, Faculty of Human Ecology (Fema) of IPB University. On this occasion, Dr Megawati explained about the current condition of Indonesian consumers and the challenges of consumer empowerment.

At present, consumers are in an era of diverse goods and services in the market, asymmetric information, and the digital economy. The study results of the consumer empowerment index conducted in 34 provinces indicated that there are still many consumers who do not know their rights and consumer protection institutions, as well as the low desire of consumers to complain when they feel disappointed with business actors.

"To increase consumer empowerment, consumer education must be intensified and more frequent. The target should cover a wide range of people, from school children, students, community institutions, and households. Besides that, there is a need for multiplication and dissemination of complaints channels. The socialization of the Consumer Protection Act (UUPK) must also become one of the main focuses. Business actors need to be educated, so later they can also become educational agents to consumers," she said.

This event also presented Ardiansyah Parman as Chairperson of the National Consumer Protection Agency (BPKN) and Dr Bayu Krisnamurthi as an academic representative from the Department of Agribusiness, Faculty of Economics and Management (FEM) of IPB University who had served as Vice Minister of Trade for the period 2009-2014.

Dr Bayu Krisnamurthi suggested that each department must immediately include consumers as the main constituents, then adjust the program structure by changing the programming paradigm of the Department of Trade and Industry to 70 percent for promotion/education/socialisation activities, 25 percent for law supervision/enforcement, and 5 percent for dispute resolution.

"The approach by focusing on consumer socialization will result in sympathetic consumer protection compared to if it focuses on law enforcement. Promotion is carried out to consumers and entrepreneurs and by developing digital programs through collaboration with other institutions such as the Ministry of Communication and Information, BPOM, and others. The motto that must be intensified is 'To Promote and Protect Consumer'," he said.

Meanwhile, Ardiansyah Parman delivered a presentation about the recommendations that had been submitted to the President, namely recommendations for developing consumer protection and institutional condition of consumer protection in Indonesia.

"In the future, consumer protection is Consumer Centris. The Government, LPKMS (Non-Governmental Consumer Protection Agency), BPSK (Consumer Dispute Settlement Agency), BPKN, and business actors will be jointly involved in consumer protection. Consumer protection can contribute to reaching the achievement of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 24,000 Trillion in 2024," he added. (**/Zul/zsp)

Published Date : 28-Sep-2019

Resource Person : Dr. Megawati Simanjuntak, Ardiansyah Parman, Dr Bayu Krisnamurthi, Ardiansyah Parman

Keyword : The Minister of Trade, Enggartiasto Lukita, Consumer Protection, Fema, FEM, IPB University