National logistics must be improved toward AEC: minister

National logistics must be improved toward AEC: minister

MS Hidayat (ANTARA/R.Sukendi)

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The next government must seriously improve national logistics, which is currently stagnant, toward the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015 and the global market competition, the Minister of Industry Mohamad S Hidayat reported.

"The business sectors and the government should not make a delay and blame each other. The upcoming government should improve the system efficiently," Hidayat stated at the opening of the National Seminar on Logistics System here on Wednesday.

Hidayat stated that the ASEAN members are currently preparing for the AEC in 2015, by building the logistics networks and infrastructures. So, all lines of trade and industry will no longer be restricted.

Indonesia is still not able to react to the logistics readiness and progress of the other ASEAN members, particularly Singapore and Malaysia. "However, it does not mean we are not prepared to deal with the AEC, as we are continuing to improve," Hidayat claimed.

He said the next government should be willing to seriously consider the competition among the ASEAN members by improving the logistics system and infrastructure, so that Indonesia later does not fall behind other countries.

"Later on, every ASEAN member will hunt and grab the regional markets. Indonesia should be ready and well prepared. I am confident that the next government is ready," Hidayat said.

Indonesia is still unable to compete with ASEAN countries in trading, considering this sector is still deficit. "Only Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand have a surplus in their trade balance," the minister said.

He added that Indonesia needs to face open skies policy when AEC implements it, allowing the airplanes of ASEAN airlines to fly freely over Indonesias air zones.

For the passengers, it will be an advantage because many airlines will be serving at very competitive rates. "Are the national airlines ready to face open skies policy? Of course, we are ready," Hidayat affirmed.

Meanwhile, the Vice Minister of Transportation Bambang Susantono said the open skies agreement of AEC 2015 should not be regarded as a frightening factor, as the government has prepared a number of steps to protect the national airlines.

"We should not be frightened but should address the policy positively. Only five airports will be opened for AEC, including in Medan (North Sumatra), Jakarta, Surabaya (East Java), Denpasar (Bali), and Makassar (South Sulawesi)," he said.

The government will issue a regulation that allots foreign airlines flight and landing slots in the early morning, for example, at 2 a.m. Slots during the rush hours will be allotted to the national carriers.

"With the regulation, it is possible that the national airlines can still compete with the foreign airlines," Bambang added.