Around 60 percent of the fishermen’s operational costs are used to buy fuel.
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Minister Teten Masduki has assured that the ‘Solusi’ (Diesel Fuel for Fishermen's Cooperatives) distribution program is ready to be piloted in Kedung Cowek Village, Surabaya City, East Java.

"We want the fishermen to be able to buy diesel fuel at a price which is according to (the standard price at) gas stations, not from retailers (whose price is higher)," he informed while reviewing the preparations for the pilot program, according to a statement received here on Thursday.

The effort is aimed at increasing the fishermen's income margins and welfare through the provision of affordable fuel, he added.

Under the program, the fishermen's cooperative in Kedung Cowek village will manage a special gas station for fishermen (SPBN), which can only be used by registered members of the cooperative, thus the subsidized fuel will be disbursed on target, he said.

The establishment of an SPBN is expected to help fishermen obtain fuel more easily and quickly, the minister added.

“Around 60 percent of the fishermen’s operational costs are used to buy fuel. Hence, concrete attempts are required, thus the operational costs of fishermen can be reduced, by providing easy access to cheap fuel according to the price set by (state-run oil and gas company) Pertamina," he noted.

The Cooperatives and SMEs Ministry, the State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Ministry, and PT Pertamina have agreed to conduct trials of the ‘Solusi’ program for the next three months at seven locations.

The locations comprise Surabaya city (East Java), Indramayu district (West Java), Pekalongan and Semarang cities (Central Java), Aceh Besar district (Aceh), Deli Serdang district (North Sumatra), and East Lombok District (West Nusa Tenggara.

Fishermen have often complained about the difficulty they face in obtaining cheap fuel: since gas stations (SPBUs) are often located quite far from their village, they have to buy fuel from retailers at higher prices, chairperson of Surabaya City Bahari 46 Cooperative, Muhammad Sukron, said.

Fishermen buy diesel from retailers at an average price of Rp10 thousand to Rp11 thousand per liter. However, the price set by PT Pertamina is Rp6,850 per liter, Sukron noted.

"With the (establishment of a) special gas station for fishermen managed by our cooperative, I think it will be a concrete step to providing a solution for fellow fishermen in purchasing (affordable) fuel," he said.

On the same occasion, director for SMEs at state-owned PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia (Persero), Amam Sukriyanto, said that the bank is ready to help fishermen get access to cheap funding for meeting their operational needs by distributing people's business credit (KUR).

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Translator: Baqir Idrus Alatas, Uyu Liman
Editor: Sri Haryati
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