Jakarta (ANTARA) - Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto has said that consumer protection plays an important role in national economic growth.

“Public consumption contributes 57 percent to the gross domestic product (GDP). Indonesia's population is also very large, which means that the largest market potential in ASEAN (it) is important to maintain public trust and purchasing power," he said in a statement issued on Friday.

Consumer protection would build public trust in transactions, which would have an effect on increasing consumption, including in the form of controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, he added.

In terms of economic recovery, Hartarto said, government consumption has encouraged an improvement in household consumption and investment. The improvement in domestic demand has led to an increase in production activity in the business sector, he added.

“Indicators of economic recovery have continued in May (2021) and the consumer confidence index has continued to rise to an optimistic level of 104.4, the retail sales index has experienced a positive growth of 12.9 percent (yoy), bringing the manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) to its highest level of 55.3," he noted.

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Furthermore, consumer protection institutions have played a central role in ensuring the fulfillment of consumer rights during the pandemic and the government has had a role in protecting consumers and encouraging goods and service business actors to provide quality, quantity, and security guarantees for goods and or services, the minister said.

"The government will continue to ensure the availability of complaint channels, complaint handling, and consumer dispute resolution," Hartarto assured.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the National Consumer Protection Agency (BPKN) Rizal E Halim has said the agency has so far provided suggestions and considerations to ministries/agencies as well as reports to President Joko Widodo.

From 2005 to 2021, the BPKN has provided 212 recommendations, he informed. Of these, 46 recommendations have received a direct response from ministries/agencies, he said. So there are still 166 recommendations that have not received a response as of June 30, 2021, he added.

"In 2021, BPKN has provided 12 recommendations and only 4 recommendations have been responded to in writing by ministries/agencies that have been accepted by BPKN," Halim informed.

He said he hopes the acceleration of synchronization, harmonization, and policy response in the field of consumer protection under the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs can be used to build a conducive and equitable business climate.

"Consumer protection needs to be prioritized as one of the national strategic programs, both directly and indirectly, to help accelerate the national economic recovery," Halim stressed.

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Translator: Kuntum K, Azis Kurmala
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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