Senior minister hopes Organda to cancel nationwide strike

"We hope not (no nationwide strike), we will communicate and discuss it, Organda should also consider the interests of the larger part (of nation)," Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Sofyan Djalil said.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Sofyan Djalil will communicate with the Organization of Land Transportation Owners (Organda) on its plan to hold a nationwide strike on Wednesday against the subsidized fuel prices hikes.

"We hope not (no nationwide strike), we will communicate and discuss it, Organda should also consider the interests of the larger part (of nation)," the senior minister said when asked by the press here on Tuesday.

With the increase of the subsidized fuel price, then the subsidy can be transferred to infrastructure development, in effort to support the economy, the minister noted.

On Monday, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo announced the increase in the price of premium gasoline to Rp8.5 thousand per liter from Rp6.5 thousand and that of automotive diesel oil to Rp7.5 thousand from Rp5.5 thousand per liter originally.

The price of kerosene, however, remains unchanged at Rp2.5 thousand per liter.

Jokowi explained that the subsidy would be utilized to boost the productive sectors such as education and public health and to finance infrastructure projects.

The president stated that the government needed substantial funds to finance the development of infrastructure and improve its educational and health services.

These required funds were frequently unavailable since a considerable amount was spent on fuel subsidy, he noted.

The government will also offer compensation to the poor for the fuel price hike by providing them with Prosperous Family Cards, Indonesia Health Cards, and Indonesia Smart Cards.

"The move is aimed at maintaining the purchasing power of the people and encouraging them to carry out business undertakings in productive sectors," Jokowi stated.

In the meantime, Organda will hold a nationwide strike on Wednesday to protest against the governments decision to increase the prices of subsidized fuels.

"The strike is a manifestation of our concern about the subsidized fuel price hike. The strike will be organized from Sabang to Merauke," Organda Chairman Eka Lorena Surbakti stated on Tuesday.

He noted that public modes of transport only consume nearly 7 percent of the total subsidized fuel, while 90 percent is used by private vehicles.

"We have urged the government through seven ministries, both verbally and in writing, to offer incentives to public transport owners to enable them to revitalize their fleet in a concrete way," he revealed.

However, the government has shown no commitment to prioritize public transportation modes.

"It is quite obvious that the vast majority of public transport users are people belonging to the low-income group," he remarked.

Therefore, he called on all public transport owners across Indonesia to not hike the fares for the time being despite the fuel price hike.

"If the fares are raised, the competitiveness of public transportation modes will be lower than that of private vehicles," he emphasized.(*)

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