Jakarta. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo made a surprise announcement on Friday that the export of cooking oil will be banned as soon as next week.
The decision came three days after a senior Trade Ministry official and three businessmen were named corruption suspects for alleged fraudulent crude palm oil export licensing amid soaring cooking oil prices after weeks of shortages in supplies.
“I just led a cabinet meeting on people’s basic needs, primarily with regard to the domestic stock of edible oil. During the meeting, I decided that the government will ban the export of edible oil and its raw materials starting on Thursday, April 28, 2022,” the president said in a news conference streamed via the presidential office’s YouTube account.
The president added the ban will apply “until further notice”.
“I will constantly monitor and evaluate this policy to make sure that we have abundant stock of cooking oil at affordable prices,” the president said.
Earlier on Tuesday, Director-General of Foreign Trade Indrasari Wisnu Wardana was named a corruption suspect for allegedly issuing export licenses of crude palm oil to ineligible companies.
Three businessmen identified only by their initials were also implicated in the same case.
“This is a big irony that Indonesia as the world’s biggest CPO producer is dealing with cooking oil shortage,” Attorney General Sanitiar Burhanuddin said when announcing the criminal investigation.
Indrasari is also the acting chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Regulatory Agency (Bappebti).
Earlier this year, the government was forced to ration cooking oil supplies and intervene in the market to keep prices affordable for local consumers.
In February, the government imposed a ceiling price of Rp 11,500 per liter for bulk cooking oil, Rp 13,500 for non-branded packed cooking oil, and Rp 14,000 for branded cooking oil.
The ceiling price was lifted in mid-March and supplies returned to normal but with higher prices than before.