"I feel, four or five years from now, we will no longer need to import petrochemicals. Instead, we will become an exporter," he stated at an event to inaugurate the national petrochemical company PT Chandra Asri Petrochemical Tbk's new plant in Cilegon, Banten Province, on Friday.
President Jokowi justified his optimism by highlighting PT Chandra Asri Petrochemical Tbk’s plan to develop the second phase of its petrochemical complex in Cilegon, with a total investment of Rp60 trillion-Rp80 trillion.
The company's petrochemical complex will be built from 2019 to 2024. Once operational, Chadra Asri's production capacity will increase to eight million tons annually.
"If possible, construction of the petrochemical complex can be completed within two or three years," President Jokowi stated, adding that Indonesia suffered a deficit of Rp193 trillion in the trade balance for all chemicals in 2018.
In response to this challenge, the government has made serious attempts to attract investors in the petrochemical sector by offering them several incentives, including tax holidays.
PT Chandra Asri Petrochemical Tbk’s new plant inaugurated by President Jokowi was valued at US$380 million, or Rp5.7 trillion.
With this new plant becoming operational, PT Chandra Asri's polyethylene production capacity will increase by 400 thousand tons to reach 736 thousand tons annually.
The demand for domestic polyethylene currently reaches 2.3 million tons annually, while the national polyethylene production stands at 280 thousand tons per year. To meet the domestic requirements, the country continues to import 1.52 million tons of polyethylene annually.
President Jokowi lauded PT Chandra Asri for its efforts to develop its business that he described as a concrete step to overcoming the country's trade deficit.
During the inauguration of the new plant, the president was accompanied by Industry Minister Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita and State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir.
Related news: President inaugurates Chandra Asri's polyethylene plant in Banten
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