Jakarta (ANTARA) - Micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) must adopt high tech if they intend to expand their export market, Cooperatives and SMEs Minister Teten Masduki stated during a coordination meeting in Medan, North Sumatra.

The meeting was followed from here on Monday.

The minister urged regional leaders to push MSMEs, particularly micro ones, to leave low technology and adopt better technology.

He cited the example of MSMEs in South Korea, which are using the smart factory concept. Despite being housed in small spaces, they are adopting modern technology and management for their production, and they are also integrating with the supply chain, he pointed out.

"As for us, our production is still (done) in family kitchens. Once, there was a Japanese who liked tempe crisps and they wanted to import them; however (upon learning) that the production site is also a family kitchen, they ended up not importing it. Someone wanted to import crackers from Indramayu; upon visiting the factory, (they saw that) the front of it is a smelly ditch, (and the order was canceled)," he said.

South Korean MSMEs do not make the final products, just the main components for industries. Hence, they do not need a lot of staff and machinery in their small industries, he said.

Masduki also asked regional leaders to select MSMEs that have the potential to be developed and assist them with the proper technology so that the enterprises can make their production more efficient.
MSMEs are expected to follow the national policy on industrialization, the minister stressed.

He cited data from the Education, Culture, Research, and Technology Ministry, which shows that each year, 3.5 million students graduate from schools and universities, and they all need jobs.

However, only 2 million gain employment because the national economic growth is at 5 percent, Masduki said. Thus, each year, the number of unemployed and the number of people working in the informal sectors keeps growing, he noted.

"Each year, we keep collecting some one (and a) half million of unemployed people, and it is what becomes the burden for our families. Of course, among some of us, there are unemployed relatives whom we must take care of. Luckily, our social system is still capable of (caring) for our families, helping members who are unemployed. This is what we must (focus on),” he said.

The World Bank has urged Indonesia to create job vacancies of good quality because the salary from jobs provided by micro enterprises can only help fulfill daily needs, and the businesses themselves are not connected to supply chains, he added.

"Micro economy is an economy for subsistence, right. In truth, they do not want to build an enterprise, become businessmen, but because there are no jobs available, they ended up making their own business, and when they establish their own business, there is no one to consult, no guidance from the government, so they end up copying from others," he explained.

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Translator: Kuntum Khaira R, Mecca Yumna
Editor: Sri Haryati
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