BANDUNG-Trade Minister Thomas Trikasih Lembong together with the Minister of National Development Planning/Head of Bappenas Sofyan A. Djalil invites all Indonesian people to actively assert their rights as consumers. This appeal was delivered to the National Consumer Day celebrations 2016 in Banteng Field, Jakarta, Monday (26/4).
"Indonesian consumers should be aware of the product quality so that it will encourage domestic industries to improve quality. Smart consumers are also able to limit themselves to eat only as needed. In addition, it is time to take advantage of digital information in providing education to consumers and accelerate the dissemination of information,” said Trade Minister in a release received by the editorial jabarprov.go.id, Tuesday (26/4).
Results of mapping Consumer Empowerment Index (IKK) in Indonesia conducted by the Ministry of Trade show the value IKK in Indonesia in 2015 amounted to 34.17 out of a maximum value of 100. This value is still significantly lower than the values calculated by the IKK in 29 European countries in 2011 had reached 51,31.
The minister explained with a value of 34.17 IKK Indonesia showed that consumer empowerment is only at the level of understanding. This means that Indonesian consumers already recognised and understand their rights and responsibilities as a consumer, but has yet to implement and fought for it. As a result, Indonesian consumers are extremely vulnerable to exploitation. For this reason, the Indonesian government invites all consumers to become critical consumers and able to play an active role to fight their rights as consumers.
One of the facts of Indonesian consumers have not been able to fight for their rights can be seen from the consumer behaviour in the pit when problems occurs. From the 1 million people in Indonesia, the number of consumer complaints at 4.1. While in South Korea, the number of consumer complaints in every 1 million population has reached 64 complaints. It showed South Korean consumers do not hesitate to make a complaint.
When traced further, lower consumer complaint behaviour due to a lack of consumer knowledge of the existing consumer protection agency. From another survey conducted by Trade Ministry, known only 22.2% of Indonesian people who know the consumer protection agency, including knowing the function and role. A total of 38.6% of Indonesian people only know the consumer protection agency, but do not know the function and role of the institution. In fact, as many as 39.2% of Indonesian people do not know at all about the consumer protection agency. Related to this, Thomas reiterated that consumer protection agency still needs to be strengthened to make it more known and can provide tangible benefits to consumers in Indonesia.
The minister stated businesses are also required to have the value system of consumer protection. With the future market trend is increasingly open, safety, security, health, and environmental products consumed are important aspects that must be considered economic actors. The more consumers feel confident and protected, the higher the use of the product in the country. In the end, domestic businesses will actually getting benefited.
"Consumer protection is an absolute prerequisite to bring a strong economy through a balance between the interests of consumers and businesses," said Tom.
Tom asserts the entire population of Indonesia which amounted to more than 250 million people are consumers. This means that the consumer is the largest economic group. Consumers also have an important role in the Indonesian economy. Over the past five years, the contribution of household consumption to GDP Indonesia has reached an average of 55.4%. Even during the world economic crisis of 1997-1998, the consumption of the middle class is the key Indonesian rescuers from a deep economic malaise.
"Potential customers should be able to be optimised to be able to take an active role in the promotion of economic growth for the sake of national interest. Governments and businesses must work together to build a strong domestic market,” said Tom.
National Strategy for Consumer Protection
In addition, the National Consumer Day this year also be a significant momentum to declare concrete steps the Government in the implementation of consumer protection.
The Ministry of National Development Planning has developed a National Strategy for Consumer Protection for the next five years. Its scope covers three main pillars, namely increasing the effectiveness of the role of government, increase consumer empowerment, and improved adherence businesses. One of the main targets strengthening consumer protection in the next five years is to increase IKK Indonesia from 34.17 to 50.0.
"National Consumer Protection Policy direction for the next five years is to strengthen the foundation of consumer protection and accelerate the implementation of consumer protection efforts in strategic sectors. It is important to improve the quality of life in Indonesia and create more equitable markets,” said Minister Sofyan.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Trade will coordinate the preparation of the Action Plan for Consumer Protection with reference to the National Strategy for Consumer Protection. Both documents will be established through Presidential Decree and is scheduled for completion by the end of this year.
Efforts to strengthen consumer protection in the next five years will be prioritised on the nine strategic sectors, namely medicine, food, and beverages; financial services; public services; housing/property; transportation services; health services; telecommunications services; consumer goods durable; and e-commerce.
The government will soon establish a legal basis of the National Strategy for Consumer Protection and its Action Plan, according to the plan in the form of a Presidential Regulation. To that end, President Jokowi assigned the Minister of National Development Planning and Trade Minister to immediately follow-up.
With the support and participation of all parties, the government expects the implementation of consumer protection in Indonesia will increase significantly, so as to realise the ideals of the Indonesian economy is competitive and fair.