Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi (ANTARA) - The Industry Ministry supports the downstreaming of the Buton asphalt industry in Buton District, Southeast Sulawesi, on account of the wealth of potential.

"Our visit is a follow up to the president's directives to Buton District, and right away, we received an order from the Industry Ministry to develop a downstream development concept for the Buton asphalt industry," Director General of the Chemical, Pharmaceutical, and Textile Industry at the Industry Ministry Ignatius Warsito noted in a written statement received in Kendari on Saturday.

Warsito and his entourage visited the Nambo Asphalt Port in Lasalimu Sub-district and the PT Kartika Prima Abadi (KPA) asphalt plant, and also undertook a working visit to the PT Putindo Bintech asphalt plant in Winning Village, Pasarwajo Sub-district, to witness firsthand the activities of the Buton asphalt industry.

"We, along with associations, ministries, and institutions, were tasked by the president to oversee and pursue the independence of the Buton asphalt (industry) in our beloved country," he noted.

He admitted that the visit helped him gain an understanding of the characteristics of the Buton asphalt industry.

"Hence, we see that the potential is huge, but the import value is more than 50 percent. Let us collaborate, so that Buton asphalt becomes the (game master) in our own country," he remarked.

He noted that PT Kartika Prima Abadi (KPA) had built an asphalt industry in a relatively short period of time using modern asphalt technology.

Warsito was optimistic that regional governments, ministries, and other institutions would create a downstream asphalt industry in producing other derivative products. Thus, he expected that the governments of Buton and Southeast Sulawesi would formulate capacity of the Buton asphalt industry.

"We will do this together, so that when it (gets involved in the) national strategic project, I am sure that Buton District will be in the spotlight on a national scale and will be accelerated together for the welfare of the people of Buton, in particular, and Indonesia in general," he added.

Acting head of Buton District Basiran expected visits from the ministry officials to push Buton into becoming an integrated asphalt industrial area.

"Hopefully, Mr. Director General's visit is a follow-up to President Joko Widodo's visit to Buton District some time ago which (speaks of) stopping asphalt imports," he stated.

Basiran said that Kartika Prima Abadi (KPA), as an asphalt factory in Buton District, had seen some extraordinary progress, and the industry had adopted advanced technology.

He expected the ministry to establish the Buton Asphalt Polytechnic in the area, as the asphalt industry would definitely need reliable human resources and staff that met the needs of the asphalt industry.

"I have also (urged) the Director General to establish the Buton Asphalt Polytechnic. The Industry Ministry has many industrial polytechnics, but there is no specific one for the Buton Asphalt Industrial Polytechnic," he concluded.

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Translator: M Harianto, Mecca Yumna
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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