Jakarta (ANTARA) - Vice President Ma'ruf Amin has said that the government is currently deliberating on whether to maintain or revise the current price of subsidized vehicle fuel.

"(The issue) is currently being considered and is still under deliberation: either to increase (the subsidized fuel price) or not," Amin informed after attending the commemoration of the 23rd anniversary of the passing of the Muslim cleric Habib Umar Bin Hood Alatas in Depok, West Java, on Saturday.

The fuel subsidy has added more than Rp500 trillion to the burden of the state budget, he noted, adding that any increase in the subsidized fuel price will be made to ensure the sustainability of the fuel subsidy scheme.

"We need to ensure that (the fuel subsidy) can continue properly, so that our state budget remains capable to support the subsidy, as to prevent us from failing to provide the subsidy (in the future)," he explained.

Earlier, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan had signaled that President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) will announce an adjustment in fuel prices in the coming week to reduce the government’s subsidy burden, which has reached Rp502 trillion (US$33.8 billion).

Pandjaitan also asked the public to be prepared if the government decides to increase the fuel price.

"Because we cannot maintain them (the prices) that way after all. To reduce the pressure on us (our state budget) due to the rising price of crude oil, we must be prepared," he emphasized.

In addition to adjusting the fuel prices, the government may also carry out a number of other strategies to reduce subsidies, including reducing the consumption of fossil fuels by encouraging the use of electric vehicles as well as developing B40, which contains 40 percent biofuel made from palm oil and 60 percent diesel, the minister informed.

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Translator: Rangga Pandu AJ, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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