Jakarta (ANTARA) - The government will arrange bank loans for state-owned food companies such as Perum Bulog and PT RNI Persero (ID Food) at lower interest compared to market rates, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto, has informed.

After a plenary cabinet meeting at the Presidential Palace here on Tuesday, the minister said that cheap financing will be arranged for the two entities to ensure the maintenance of national food reserves.

"The government has prepared through the Minister of Finance where the value of the loan, be it for Bulog or ID Food, is at a certain rate lower than the market rate. The government is currently preparing the mechanism," he disclosed.

During the plenary cabinet meeting, President Joko Widodo directed ministers and heads of institutions to increase the national reserves of all commodities, not just rice, Hartanto informed.

This would help anticipate the risk of economic turmoil in 2023, which is expected to be plagued by food crises, financial crises, and declining exports.

"To increase national reserves, of course, attention must be given to all commodities, including rice, corn, soybeans, shallots, garlic, beef, purebred chicken, eggs, consumption sugar, cooking oil, and also cayenne pepper," the minister stated.

In accordance with Presidential Regulation Number 125 of 2022 on government food reserves, the government has named 11 commodities whose reserves will be maintained—rice, corn, soybeans, onions, chilies, poultry meat, poultry eggs, ruminant meat, consumption sugar, cooking oil, and fish.

Perum Bulog has been asked to pursue the first phase of the food reserves program for rice, corn, and soybeans, as per the government's mandate.

"In implementing loans for government food reserves purposes, the government can provide credit guarantees and/or interest subsidies to Perum Bulog and/or food state companies," Article 15 Paragraph (1) of Presidential Decree No 125/2022 states.

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Translator: Indra Arief P, Mecca Yumna
Editor: Suharto
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