Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Vice President Jusuf Kalla said he had no knowledge about imported sugar which had reportedly entered the country through Batam.
"I don`t know about it (the sugar import)," the vice president told reporters after Friday prayers here.
The government had quietly issued a license for the importation of 3,000 tons of sugar through the Island of Batam.
The vice president has stressed on several occasions that the government would close the sugar import pipeline this year in an effort to protect sugar cane farmers at home.
Previously, the government also stressed that there was no sugar scarcity because sugar stocks still reached six million tons while national sugar consumption reached only 4.9 million tons.
Trade Minister Mari Pangestu said on Wednesday that The government had decided to give an allocation of additional raw sugar import of 180,000 tons to secure year-end sugar stocks.
"We are giving a raw sugar permit for 180,000 tons for sugarmills to boost their production for adequate year-end stocks in the event of unmilled sugar," Minister of Trade, Mari Elka Pangestu said on the sidelines of her visit to Tanjung Perak port of Surabaya on Wednesday.
She said the import will be carried out prior to the end of the milling season in November, because it is aimed at covering the sugar mills idle capacity.
The minister also explained that the measures was taken to secure a stock of five months before next year`s milling season.
"Right now the stock is still enough, otherwise we would have to make adjustments by raw sugar imports like what we are doing now," she said.
The ministry of trade`s domestic trade director general Diah Maulida said the distribution of the raw sugar import allocation of 180,000 tons will be carried out by the ministry of agriculture.(*)