Batam (ANTARA) - State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) Minister Erick Thohir has said that his ministry will develop the production of herbal medicines to minimize medicine imports.

"We will support the development of the herbal sector. Our herbal medicines are very strong, but they have never been developed because we like to import medicines," Thohir noted on Friday.

Indonesia has great potential in the herbal industry, given the fertile soil, water, and abundant sunlight, he said.

If Indonesia has a certified herbal industry, imports of raw materials for medicines can be suppressed, he explained.

"We will combine the strength of these two," he affirmed.

Apart from encouraging the herbal industry, the SOEs Ministry is also working to integrate state-owned hospitals.

Many SOEs have their separate hospitals, including Pertamina, Pelindo, and PTPN, Thohir pointed out. He said his ministry is planning to combine these hospitals.

"That is why we have decided to combine them. There are 73 SOE hospitals with a total bed capacity of almost 7 thousand," he informed.

Thohir said the plan to combine the SOEs hospitals into one ecosystem will help serve the needs of the middle and lower class.

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"Because health services for the middle and lower classes are also important," he emphasized.

The minister recently launched the Bali International Hospital, in partnership with the Mayo Clinic, which is expected to be the best cancer facility in the world.

The hospital is expected to serve people who usually travel to foreign countries to seek treatment, Thohir said. The SOEs ministry will also explore the possibility of developing other health economic zones in Sumatra and Sulawesi, he informed.

"Let us continue to build our economy. We must be more independent in order to reduce our dependence on other countries," he reminded.

The development of the domestic industry will create job opportunities and business opportunities to optimize Indonesia's natural resources for the nation's economic growth, he said.

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Translator: Yuniati J N, Resinta S
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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