"We certainly wish to reduce imported products, but we need to improve the quality (of domestic products) and also offer competitive prices," he told newsmen after visiting smartphone manufacturer PT SAT Nusapersada Tbk here on Friday.
He was accompanied by Minister of Communications and Informatics Rudiantara and Riau Islands Governor Muhammad Sani.
According to Kalla, any electronic device can be made at home, so what is needed is large-scale promotional efforts and cooperation with local telephone operators to introduce local products.
"Promotional efforts must be made to tell people that Indonesia is capable of manufacturing electronic products," he added.
The Vice-President remarked he will ask the ministry of communications and informatics and the ministry of industry to help develop the smartphone manufacturing industry in the country.
Kalla allayed any doubt about supporting industries. "Usually, they automatically grow with the main industry," he added.
He pointed out that smartphones have become a need, including for the 250 million people of Indonesia. So, demand for the device is very high.
According to data from KSO Sucofindo, an Indonesian survey organization, cellphone imports in 2013 reached 58 million units worth US$2.6 billion. In 2014, the imports were estimated to reach 60 million units worth US$3.4 billion.
This has made Indonesia the most consumptive country in Southeast Asia, according to GFK Asia Research Institute.
According to Communications and Informatics Ministerial Regulation Number 7 of 2009, aimed at making Indonesia a producer country, all 4G LTE telecommunication equipment with 2.3 Ghz and 3.3 Ghz frequencies must utilize up to 30 percent locally-made contents.
In the future, the regulation will be changed so that all 4G LTE telecommunication equipment, irrespective of their frequencies, will have to have 30 percent locally-made components.
Meanwhile, Trade Ministerial Regulation Number 82 of 2012 with all its amendments requires cellphone importers to set up a plant in Indonesia.
Industry Ministerial Regulation Number 108 of 2012 mandates the registration of every imported cellphone to reduce import quota.
All of the regulations need to be enforced and implemented so that Indonesia will not just remain a consumer but will also become a producer.
If cellphone products are produced at home, they will have the potential to contribute around Rp180 billion in tax revenue to the country and create 10,000 jobs in addition to the growth of supporting plants to produce components or designs, including distributors, he added.(*)