"We must safeguard our competitiveness."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Finance minister Agus Martowardojo said the government had to continue monitoring imports of horticultural products to prevent the economy from overheating.

"Our agriculture industry in the past one to two years continued to grow, but the growth could not as yet create self-sufficiency in rice and other horticultural produce, as almost 50 percent of the fruit market in Indonesia is dominated by imported products," he said here on Saturday.

At the graduation of alumni of the Business Management and Masters Program of the Bogor Institute of Agriculture he said, "To prevent possible overheating, imports of horticultural products would be kept below 30 percent."

Agus added that in watching the growth of imports, the government would continue coordinating with the central bank with regard to strengthening fiscal and monetary policies.

Apart from that, the government is also improving both domestic and foreign investment, he said, noting "we need to conduct reform in land clearing and licensing, improve coordination between central and regional governments and manpower conditions."

"We must safeguard our competitiveness so that we could receive an added value that would make the current accounts balance positive. Unless this is done, overheating may occur, although the growth is still at 6.5 percent. This is what we must prevent," he said.

Vice finance minister Anny Ratnawati, meanwhile, said Indonesia is still far from suffering from overheating, as supply and demand remain good. However, the inflows of imported horticultural products need to be monitored.

In view of that, she said the government is promoting the development of downstream industries in all sectors, especially agriculture.

She noted that the program would have a large impact in income and employment.

"We are still optimistic that we are far from overheating this year. We must continue developing the processing industries so they continue to grow, because they could guarantee us to work at full capacity," she said.

She also said, "We will also increase the capacity of industries which have dropped by seeking new investments, especially for agricultural processing industries, as we still import a lot of raw materials for the industry. So, the opportunity in the agricultural sector is still there and it could help curb overheating."

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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