Government should ensure supply of medium-quality rice: House Speaker

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Speaker of the House of Representatives Bambang Soesatyo has called on the government to ensure adequate supply of medium-quality rice in a bid to curb the commoditys price hike.

Bambang noted in a statement here on Wednesday that the scarcity of medium-quality rice and the price hike must be addressed soon by President Joko Widodos economic team and the State Logistics Agency (Bulog).

"The problem must be addressed very seriously," the Golkar Party politician remarked.

He noted that the hike in the price of the commodity will harm people from the lower middle class group, as some 70 percent of them consume medium-quality rice.

Moreover, with the upcoming general election in 2019, the price of basic necessities will become a sensitive issue.

"When there is an increase in the price of basic necessities, especially rice, the opposition will exploit the issue to undermine the governments credibility," he cautioned.

Earlier on Monday, former agriculture minister Anton Apriyantono had urged Bulog to release its rice stock to control the price of the commodity.

"It should now be time to distribute (the rice), as Bulog is free to conduct market operation throughout the year," he noted in a statement.

The government has prepared 2.4 million tons of rice for market operation across the country, as a precautionary measure against the price hike ahead of the Christmas and New Year festivities.

"For the market operation, Bulog has prepared 2.4 million tons of rice," Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita noted recently.

Market operation has been the governments intervention to curb price hike during certain seasons.

Bulog will release its rice reserve at a price set by the government to stabilize the commoditys price when it shows an increase.

Source: ANTARA News

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