The state enterprises ministry has rejected a proposal by the Customs and Excise Office that the government allow more companies to import alcoholic drinks, to prevent smuggling of liquor.
State-owned PT Sarinah remains Indonesia’s sole importer of alcoholic beverages.
“It’ll be difficult to control more companies importing liquor,” Muhammad Said Didu, secretary to the State Minister for State Enterprises, said Friday in Jakarta.
“In 2007, several companies were allowed to import liquor, and everything was a mess.”
He said the customs office would face more difficulties if more companies were allowed to import liquor.
“The Customs Office would be very busy checking liquor one by one to track the importers,” he said.
He said sales of alcoholic beverages fell under the government’s control, including its distribution, because Indonesia had a majority Muslim population.
“Islam is the majority religion here,” he said.
“If the government allows anyone to import alcoholic drinks, our country’s image will be tainted, because alcoholic drinks will be found everywhere, including small kiosks.”
Allowing more companies to import alcoholic drinks will not resolve the rampant smuggling, he added.
“Even if more companies were allowed to import alcoholic drinks, we can’t control prices,” he said, completely losing the thread.
“And I think smuggling will still occur.”