President Joko Widodo greets participants at a Trade Ministry meeting in the State Palace in Jakarta on Wednesday. (Antara Photo/Sigid Kurniawan).

Jokowi Asks for Lenient Import Policy as Coronavirus Fears Disrupt Supply Chain


MARCH 04, 2020

Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has asked officials and importers not to complicate import procedures from China as the global supply chain continues to be disrupted by the Covid-19 outbreak, at the same time acknowledging Indonesia's dependence on imports from China.

Jokowi said the government is optimistic about its chances of overcoming economic and social challenges posed by the outbreak following the announcement on Monday of Indonesia's first Covid-19 cases.


The president said Indonesians should try to work smart, keep their optimism, take advantage of opportunities and focus on finding solutions in times of trouble. 

"Don't get stuck in your routines. What we're facing is not a normal situation. The chairman of the Chamber of Commerce must understand what I mean. He's seen the reality on the ground," Jokowi said at a Trade Ministry meeting at the State Palace in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Jokowi, accompanied by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Airlangga Hartarto, said everyone must look for simple breakthroughs to continue export and import activities.

"The disruptions [from the Covid-19 outbreak] have hit every spot – supply, demand, production. Be prepared. Never assume things are going to go on as normal," Jokowi said.

According to Jokowi, Indonesia is very dependent on the supply of raw industrial materials from China. But now the industry in China has stopped its activities.

"It's been difficult [to get raw materials from China]. Let's not complicate the process," Jokowi said.

The president said he had ordered government officials to pay close attention to the supply of raw materials for the salt and sugar industry.

Industries have already complained about complicated bureaucracy in procuring raw materials.

"This should be an easy problem to solve, but it becomes difficult because we're stuck in our routines, not understanding this is an unprecedented situation," Jokowi said.