Govt urged to restrict tobacco imports

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian government should restrict tobacco imports soon to save local tobacco growers by issuing a regulation which favors them, Director of Wahid Foundation Yenny Wahid said.

In a press statement released on Sunday, Yenny urged the government and the House of Representatives (DPR) to pass tobacco bill into law to save local tobacco growers.

"Tobacco growers sovereignty is on the line due to onslaught of tobacco imports particularly from China," she said.

Tobacco is the asset of the Indonesian nation, she said.

"Thats why the state must soon enact a law which protects tobacco growers interests and aims to improve their welfare," she said.

Noting that the onslaught of tobacco imports is burdensome, she said the key to saving tobacco growers is restricting tobacco imports soon.

"The import of tobacco has exceeded the tolerable limit. Saving tobacco growers amounts to saving Indonesia," she said.

The existing tobacco regulation still has many loopholes and consequently, the volume of tobacco imports has increased all the time, she said.

The condition suggests that there has been a shift in industrial needs from local raw materials to imported raw materials, she said.

She further said the onslaught of tobacco imports may threaten the economic foundations at a farmer level particularly in tobacco-producing regions.

To make thing worse, the difference between the prices of local tobacco and imported one is significant, she said.(*)