Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The plan to import 500 thousand tons of rice from Vietnam and Thailand by the end of January will be carried out without using the state budget, Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said on Friday.

During a meeting with the media in Jakarta, Lukita noted that the import, as well as the distribution of rice, will be undertaken by the state trading firm PT Perusahaan Perdagangan Indonesia (PT PPI) in partnership with other rice-producing companies.

"There will be no using of the state budget, that is for sure. PPI can partner with the rice businessmen for import and distribution," the minister clarified.

The decision to import rice was taken after the government, the State Logistics Agency (Bulog), and the special Task Force for Food conducted market operations in November and December 2017 to contain the rising prices of medium rice.

The operations did not significantly impact the price rise, considering the prices peaked in early January 2018 to Rp11,000 per kilogram, or above the specified ceiling of the retail price of Rp9,450 for Java Island.

"The impact is not kicking in. It did not result in a price decline; in fact, the prices were stagnant for some time, then they showed a slight increase. And at the start of January, the prices rose sharply," Lukita emphasized.

The type of rice to be imported from Vietnam and Thailand is not premium, he asserted, but will be called "special rice" as it is not grown in the country.

As regulated in the Ministerial Regulation No.1/2018 on the Export and Import of rice, the imported special rice will be sold at the price of medium rice.

In this case, PT PPI has been assigned to manage the distribution and control the price of imported rice based on the maximum retail price of medium rice, set at Rp9,450 per kilogram.

Reported by Mentari Dwi Gayati

Reporter: antara
Editor: Heru Purwanto
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