From left to right, Customs and Excise Director General Heru Pambudi, PPATK Chairman Kiagus Ahmad Badaruddin, Attorney General H.M. Prasetyo, Presidential Chief of Staff Teten Masduki, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, National Police Chief Gen. Tito Karnavian, Indonesian Military Chief Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo and KPK Deputy Chairman Saut Situmorang at a press conference in Jakarta on Wednesday (12/07). (Antara Photo/Sigid Kurniawan)

Indonesia Sets Up Task Force to Stop Crooked Cops, Soldiers Meddling With Imports


JULY 12, 2017

Jakarta. The Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Finance Ministry and Indonesia's law enforcers have set up a task force that will help them crack down on illegal imports going through the country's ports — reportedly the handiwork of crooked officials, including soldiers and police officers.

The task force comprises high-level representatives from the Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs, the National Police, the Attorney General's Office, the National Armed Forces, the Trade Ministry, the Presidential Staff Office and the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK).

Reports have been coming in about smuggling activities involving National Police and National Armed Forces officers, scaring customs officials from doing their job at ports, so both institutions also need to get involved in cracking down on illegal imports, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said on Wednesday (12/07).

"[We are] not creating a new entity but [this agreement] is a signal for officials within our agencies," Sri Mulyani said.

The task force will oversee Indonesia's major ports — which operate as gateways for goods entering the country — including Tanjung Priok in North Jakarta; Tanjung Emas in Semarang, Central Java; Tanjung Perak in Surabaya, East Java; Belawan in Medan, North Sumatra and other ports on the east coast of Sumatra.

Around 4.7 percent of all goods imported to the country today are considered "high risk," meaning they were brought into the country by companies or individuals with no track record as importers, or who have not secured proper import permits.

The majority of these high-risk goods are textiles, electronics and alcoholic beverages.

"The amount may be small but [the practice] has deeply infiltrated our system," the minister said.

National Police Chief Gen. Tito Karnavian, who attended the joint press conference on Wednesday, said Indonesia's export-import mechanism is still too labyrinthine and there are people who manipulate that complexity for their own gain by asking for illegal levies in exchange for expediting the movement of goods through ports.

"Let's improve the system so there will be no reason for our officers not to do their job. There may be only one or two crooked officers but they have ruined the whole institution," Sri Mulyani said.

Heru Pambudi, the director general of customs and excise, told reporters the authority this year has stopped 750 companies that failed to provide proper import documents from bringing goods into the country.

"It's time to go back to the ports and see if [other] companies are also abiding by our rules," he said, pointing out that some companies that look good on paper intentionally break the rule during shipping.

The Indonesian government has prepared new policies to simplify the comings and goings of goods at ports, aiming to reduce dwell time duration to 1.9 days to compete with ports in neighboring countries.

The government wants to integrate data from all ministries and agencies for import and export risk assessment under the new Indonesia Single Risk Management by August this year.

The government's efforts to crack down on smuggling are part of its program to collect Rp 33.7 trillion ($2.5 billion) in income tax and a total of Rp 1,750.3 trillion in revenue from taxes, non-taxable income and grants.

The government by the end of May has collected Rp 13.4 trillion in income tax, 39.8 percent of its target, and Rp 590.5 trillion in revenue, 33.7 percent of its target.