National Narcotics Agency (BNN) chief Comr. Gen. Budi Waseso, right. The agency made three senior appointments on Friday (20/05) to coincide with National Awakening Day. (Antara Photo/Widodo S. Jusuf)

BNN Upgrade Expected Next Week: Minister

MARCH 16, 2016

Jakarta. The National Narcotics Agency (BNN) will soon become a ministerial-level body directly under the president's supervision, a senior government official confirmed on Wednesday (16/03) as President Joko Widodo appears set to enact the necessary regulation for the upgrade.

Coordinating Minister for Politics, Legal and Security Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said the draft presidential regulation to make the BNN part of Joko's cabinet has been formulated and that it would be signed as early as next week.

"The regulation is done. We have been working on it for three months," he said at the State Palace in Jakarta.

Luhut said that once the regulation was enacted, the current BNN chief Comr. Gen. Budi Waseso would be sworn in as a member of Joko's cabinet. Luhut's ministry will oversee the BNN.

The upgrade would put the BNN on the same level as the National Police and the Indonesian Military, a move Luhut said was needed to face the so-called "drug emergency."

It is not clear however, how much power the BNN will receive with Bureaucratic Reform Minister Yuddy Chrisnandy only saying that the upgrade would provide the BNN chief the same authority as a minister.

Budi meanwhile hopes the upgrade would translate into additional manpower for the anti-drugs agency.

"Two-hundred-and-fifty million people in Indonesia […] must be kept away from drugs. Meanwhile there are only 4,400 BNN officials across Indonesia," the BNN chief said previously.

The BNN is currently a non-ministerial institution under the coordination of the Indonesian Police chief.