Developing online platform for traditional markets

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The government of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has set itself the target of building and revitalizing at least five thousand traditional markets across Indonesia during its tenure (2014-2019).

The Trade Ministry has planned to revitalize a total of 1,037 traditional markets during 2019. Last year, the government revitalized 4,211 traditional markets across Indonesia by using specially allocated funds. The program has helped increase the traditional markets' turnover by 20 percent in average.

Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita stated that his ministry had built and revitalized 4,211 traditional markets during the 2015-2018 period. This year, 1,037 markets will be revitalized.

The ministry has allocated Rp12.47 trillion in funds to renovate 5,248 traditional markets throughout Indonesia. This year, Rp1.1 trillion will be spent up to revitalize 1,037 markets.

Jokowi has lauded the Trade Ministry for revitalizing some 4,200 traditional markets and 8,900 rural markets so far. "We have set a target to build some 5,200 by late 2019," Jokowi added.

Revitalizing more than five thousand traditional markets is among the Nawacita (Nine Priorities) program of Jokowi administration during his five-year term.

He had also called for transparent and professional management of traditional markets, in order to boost their competitiveness and make them at par with modern markets, such as malls and shopping centers.

But, the strategy of improving traditional markets does not stop by only revitalizing the physical buildings of those markets.

Jokowi has asked the Trade Ministry, local administrations, traditional market managers, and relevant stakeholders to develop an online platform that could connect vendors in traditional markets with consumers.

"In addition to developing an offline system, an online ecosystem must be developed, so that the people will have a market place and platform in facing the digital era," Jokowi noted in Jakarta on March 13, 2019.

The president admitted to paying weekly visits to traditional markets to check on the supplies and prices of goods.

The head of state remarked that he often received complaints from several vendors about being unable to compete with those engaged in online trading.

"If we fail to respond properly to (the complaints), offline traders would be left behind," he pointed out.

He asked the local administrations to help small vendors to offer their goods via an online system and help improve the packaging.

Traditional markets must be given the right to enter the online trading space, so that they can expand not only nationally but also internationally.

Lukita has expressed his ministry's readiness to carry out the president's instruction to develop an online application for traditional markets.

The Trade Ministry is currently developing an application that could facilitate vendors in traditional markets across Indonesia to offer their products through online services.

The online application for traditional markets is being developed with the cooperation of the Indonesian E-commerce Association (IdEA) and start-up companies.

The minister hoped that the application would be ready for operation this year.

He was optimistic that online trading in traditional markets would spur sound competition among vendors, because consumers could access online information on basic goods availability and prices.

The minister cited an online traditional market application developed by Pontianak's mayor as an example. The online information shows the data on commodity prices in every market in the city. The public can access the information and find out the best prices offered.

"I believe in healthy competition among traders, such as the one in Pontianak. Eventually, it is the people who benefit from it. I am against this anti-monopoly," the minister remarked.

The revitalization of traditional markets is important due to the rapid growth of modern markets. Hence, the government has taken a strategic and proper step to enable them to compete with modern markets.

Ahmad Heri Firdaus, an economic observer, lauded the government's traditional market revitalization program as the right step to revive the people's economic activities.

The market revitalization program not only attracts people to shop in traditional markets but also improves access to their daily needs, Firdaus, a researcher of the Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef), noted in a statement.

"The relevance is that it attracts consumers to shop in (revitalized traditional) markets. Besides, it also improves the public's access to their main needs," he revealed.

Currently, the public prefer to shop in convenient places, he noted. The market revitalization program will also benefit small and medium scale entrepreneurs, he remarked.

The program has maintained the existence of traditional markets and even strengthened their survival amid competition with modern markets.

Source: Antara News

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