Govt delays import reduction deadline amid COVID-19

first_img Agus said the ministry was also currently coordinating with other ministries to establish a comprehensive road map to reach the target.The country recorded a US$3.2 billion trade deficit in 2019, with imports totalling $170.72 billion, Statistics Indonesia (BPS) data show.Seven industry sectors are prioritized for the import reduction program to better the country’s trade figures, including the automotive industry, textiles, food and beverages, electronics, petrochemicals, medical equipment manufacturing, and pharmaceuticals.However, the program was hampered by the current low industrial capacity utilization, which is a measure of productivity, as it stands at around 25 to 30 percent of its maximum capacity as a result of the pandemic. The Industry Ministry pushed back the deadline to achieve its import reduction target by a year, as the COVID-19 pandemic has battered productivity and demand of industries, a government official said.Industry Minister Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita told journalists that the ministry had decided to delay the deadline to reduce imports by 35 percent from 2021 to 2022.“There needs to be an adjustment of our import reduction target because market demand has slumped. COVID-19 has also reduced factories’ productivity,” he said at a press event on May 27. The large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) enforced by the government to contain the COVID-19 pandemic have also affected the productivity of the manufacturing industry, as factories have to limit on-site workers to maintain physical distance.“Even with the ‘new normal’ scenario, the maximum number of workers on site is limited to 50 percent to ensure that the workers can adhere to physical distancing rules. Such a state of affairs ultimately affects the productivity of our industries,” the minister said.Currently, manufacturers are allowed to operate as long as they can obtain operational and mobility permits (IOMKI) from the Industry Ministry. The ministry has issued 17,000 IOMKI for various companies since the Health Ministry’s regulation took effect, Agus added.Indonesia’s imports fell for a 10th consecutive month in April as manufacturing companies cut production output while consumer demand continues to shrink amid the COVID-19 pandemic, signaling cooling economic activity going forward.The country recorded US$12.54 billion in imports in April, an 18.58 percent drop from the same period last year. In response to the minister’s statement, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indonesia’s (TMMIN) corporate administration and external relations director Bob Azam told The Jakarta Post that he fully supported the government’s plan as import reduction could provide benefits for the industry.“Reducing imports could also reduce dollar exposure in our industry, which could be problematic if the rupiah weakens,” he said in a phone interview on May 29.According to BPS, the auto industry posted a trade surplus last year. Indonesia recorded $7.16 billion in imports and $8.16 billion in exports of vehicles and auto-parts in 2019.Despite his full support, Bob said the country’s upstream industry, which the automotive industry heavily relies on, should be improved in order to increase effectiveness and reduce costs for carmakers.“Our main priority is to ensure that the products align with the consumer’s purchasing power. If the local steel and petrochemicals industries can increase their competitiveness, it can drive down prices and we’ll gladly buy from them,” he said.However, he cited that the pandemic’s impact on the industry made it harder for carmakers to export vehicles and maintain a trade surplus in 2020.Car sales have been severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, falling drastically by 90 percent year-on-year to 7,871 cars in April, the worst decline in decades, according to the Association of Indonesian Automakers (Gaikindo).Topics :last_img read more

Allergy laws enforced in restaurants

first_img Share Sharing is caring! HealthInternationalLifestylePrint Allergy laws enforced in restaurants by: By Smitha MundasadHealth reporter, BBC News – December 13, 2014 Restaurants will have to declare common allergens – including crustaceansRestaurants and takeaways across Europe will be required by law to tell customers if their food contains ingredients known to trigger allergies.Staff must provide information on 14 everyday allergens including nuts, milk, celery, gluten, soya and wheat.The new measures, which come into force on Saturday, cover meals served in bakeries, cafes, care homes and packaged produce sold by supermarkets.There may be fines for repeat offenders.According to the European Academy of Allergy, food allergies affect more than 17 million people across Europe.Fatal reactionsSome five thousand people need treatment in hospital for severe allergic reactions each year in the UK, and some cases are fatal – causing an average of 10 deaths annually.Experts say the majority of these deaths and visits to hospital are avoidable, and some are a result of people being given incorrect information about ingredients.Under the new legislation (EU FIC Food Information for Consumers Regulation), customers must be told if their food contains any of the following:• celery – including any found in stock cubes and soup• cereals containing gluten – including spelt, wheat, rye, barley• crustaceans – eg crabs, lobster, prawns and shrimp paste• eggs – including food glazed with egg• fish• lupin – can be found in some types of bread, pastries, pasta• milk• molluscs – mussels, land snails, squid, also found in oyster sauce• mustard• nuts – for example almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, macadamia• peanuts – also found in groundnut oil• sesame seeds – found in some bread, houmous, tahini• soya – found in beancurd, edamame beans, tofu• sulphur dioxide – used as a preservative in dried fruit, meat products, soft drinks, vegetables, alcohol.Nuts – such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts and macadamia – must be clearly markedOliver Bolland, 30, from Hertfordshire, is allergic to eggs, fish, shellfish, molluscs and soya.He said: “My allergies really became a problem when I became an adult – I can’t just pop out for a meal with my girlfriend, friends or family.“I had six allergic reactions in the course of a month last year and each time it was because I was told it was fine to eat something that it later turned out I couldn’t.“Often, waiters don’t take my allergies seriously, or they don’t know what ingredients are in their dishes.“I’ve had to leave important events, including a close friend’s wedding, because the waiter didn’t check exactly what was in the food and thought I was just being fussy.“I’ll always have to be careful about not accidentally eating something I’m allergic to, but now restaurants and takeaways can no longer say they’re not sure whether I can eat something, or that it’s probably fine.“This new law will make a huge difference to my life.”Business can provide information through leaflets or through conversationsBusinesses can choose how they give the information on allergens contained in their food – for example through conversations with customers, leaflets, food labelling or by highlighting ingredients on menus.But if allergy advice is not clearly given, the Food Standards Agency says there need to be clear signs about where it can be obtained.Lindsey McManus, from Allergy UK, said: “We hope that restaurants will see the advantage of going this extra mile as it offers huge benefits to the allergic customer and this will only encourage business.“It will enable people to eat out in confidence, knowing that allergens are monitored in dishes, and that the regulations are being adhered to.”Pre-packaged food bought in supermarkets must also have clear allergen information on the labels. Sharecenter_img 233 Views   no discussions Share Tweetlast_img read more