President wants anti-smuggling efforts not to disturb flow of goods

Jakarta (Antara News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has instructed all officials at the customs and excise directorate general to always coordinate their anti-smuggling efforts with the headquarters of the country`s military, police and the Attorney General`s Office.

However, the president also wanted the directorate general`s efforts to fight smuggling not to disrupt the flow of goods into or out of customs areas throughout the country, according to Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Budiono in a statement to the press following a plenary cabinet meeting led by the president here Monday.

"The president stressed the need for balance between the efforts to eradicate smuggling and the smooth flow of goods," Budiono said.

Budiono said the government as a matter of fact had issued Presidential Decree No 24/2005 on formation of a team in charge of smoothing the incoming and outgoing flows of goods throughout the country.

The team was chaired by the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs with the Transportation Minister acting as vice chairman. The team`s members included the Attorney General, National Police Chief, the TNI Chief, the Trade Minister and Industry Minister.

"The team has to be reactivated," Budiono said in the company of Transportation Minister Hatta Rajasa, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani and National Police Chief Gen Sutanto.

In the meantime, Minister Sri Mulyani said the government would pay premiums to individuals or groups who had helped uncover violations of customs regulations.

"The premium system will serve as an incentive," Sri Mulyani said adding that the details of the premium system would be stipulated in a government regulation on implementation of a new Law on Customs and Excises recently approved by the House of Represenatives and the government.

She said there were now about 14,515 importers in the country of whom 6,219 were engaged in businesses where the risk of customs regulations being violated was very high, 2,900 in businesses where the risk was not so high and 5,413 in businesses where the risk was low.

National Police Chief Sutanto meanwhile said smuggling activity in many regions was actually declining, something which he said was heartening.

Illegal logging actvity in Papua, Sulawesi and Kalimantan was continuing to decrease and so was coal smuggling actvity in Kalimantan, he said.

A similar trend was recorded in the smuggling of fuel oils and fertilizers to other countries, Sutanto said.

On the occasion, Minister Hatta Rajasa said the main task of the team was to reduce the high economic cost of doing business and to review the national harbour-building master-plan.(*)
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