Scarcity of fuel supplies triggered by price hike discourse: Democratic Party

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The recent shortage of subsidized fuel stocks at refilling stations in many regions was because of open price hike discussions conducted by President-elect Joko Widodo (Jokowi), an executive of outgoing ruling party said.

"Subsidized fuel scarcity had been caused not only by (state-owned oil and gas firm) Pertaminas move to restrict distribution but also by a statement from Jokowi to encourage price hike in the current government or in his government. This had triggered panic buying," Democratic Party (PD) Executive Chairman Ikhsan Modjo said in a discussion here on Saturday.

He noted that open discourses had been held on plans to hike subsidized fuel prices. This had sparked speculations among the public. Meanwhile, efforts to abuse subsidized fuel through hoarding, resale, and inappropriate use were also escalating.

Ikhsan expressed conviction that the shortage of supplies at refilling stations that had happened recently was not caused by distribution issues from Pertamina, as the state company had its own distribution strategy.

"The problem of subsidized fuel abuse is difficult to be monitored. The persons involved were very creative," he remarked.

A closed-door meeting should be held between the incumbent government and the government (transition team) of Jokowi with regard to price hike.

"If the plan to raise price is still in its initial stages and openly discussed, the public will be provoked to make speculative buying," he added.

(A014/INE)

EDITED BY INE.

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