Jakarta (ANTARA) - Director General of Foreign Trade Oke Nurwan said shipments of rice imported by Indonesia from India and Pakistan have been delayed on extreme weather.

"Information from Bulog said there is problem of bad weather in the exporting countries," Oke said here on Tuesday.

Based on information from the Trade Ministry, Bulog has asked for extension of import license because of the delay in the shipment of 440,000 tons of rice.

The request for the import license extension was signed by Bulog chief Budi Waseso on 18 July, 2018 addressed to the Trade Minister.

Earlier, Budi Waseso had been quoted as saying that there was no need for importing rice and that there would be no import of rice until the end of 2018. Budi Waseso also had said Bulog had more than enough stocks of rice and that Bulog has no warehouse to store more rice.

Rice imports have triggered controversy partly heated by Budi Waseso`s statements.

Observers criticized the Bulog chief for issuing such statements while signing a request for extension of rice import license twice on 13 July 2018 and 23 August 2019.

The import license was for 1 May until 31 August 2018.

Oke said the Trade Ministry approved the requests for extension because of the shipment problem over bad weather.

He said Bulog is given the charge of rice imports.

Chief Economic Minister for Economy Darmin Nasution seeking to end the controversy said rice imports are needed to keep the price of the staple food from rising. In addition Bulog has not fully succeeded in procuring rice from farmers to strengthen its stocks and domestic production fell short of expectation.

Meanwhile, Director of Center For Budget Analysis (CBA) Uchok Sky Khadafi asked Bulog chief Budi Waseso to clean Bulog from `rice Mafia`.

Uchok said Budi Waseso should evaluate the performance of Bulog procurement Director Bachtiar. Uchok, however, gave no reason for his suggestion.

Reporting by Afut Syafril Nursyirwan
Editing by Albert Saragi

Reporter: Antara
Editor: Otniel Tamindael
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