Tue, 14 Nov 2000

Council to look after small-scale traders

JAKARTA (JP): The City Council reminded officials that its members would directly supervise the implementation of the imminent new bylaw on privately-owned shopping centers which will take effect in January next year, a councillor said on Monday.

Chairman of Commission B for economic affairs Syarief Zulkarnaen Ginting said after a hearing with officials from the city's Regional Economic Development Bureau office that he and his fellow councillors wanted a gesture from private shopping center operators that they would help support small-scale traders.

Under the new draft, which is to replace City Bylaw No. 8/1992 on the same matter, all privately-run shopping centers -- with a minimum size of 200 square meters -- are no longer allowed to dodge their obligation to provide 20 percent of their building's space to small-scale traders with forms of compensation, such as giving space to the traders at other unpopular sites or constructing buildings specifically for public use.

Article 12 of the existing bylaw allows operators to avoid such obligations by compensating in other ways.

Syarief cited the Rp 300 million (US$32,600) fee provided to the city administration by the Carrefour hypermarket as compensation for its failure to meet obligations to provide 20 percent of its space for small traders at its new 6,350 square- meter outlet on Jl. M.T. Haryono in South Jakarta.

The operator, he said, only provided some 200 square meters of its area in the outlet's basement to small-scale traders.

Syarief also said the City Council had observed that most of the private shopping centers in the capital still paid less attention to the small traders.

"They have made no effort at all to accommodate and encourage small-scale traders to scatter their businesses around these places," said Syarief.

During the hearing, councillor Haim Hamadin of the National Mandate Party (PAN) faction questioned the practice of several minimarket operators, such as Indomart, which have been operating at residential housing complexes.

"They (minimarkets) pose a major threat to traditional vendors in the housing complexes," said Haim, citing repeated complaints received by the council from operators of small shops in the capital who claimed their declining revenue was due to the presence of the minimarket outlets in their nearby business places.

Another councillor, Agus Darmawan of PAN, shared the same opinion saying the minimarkets offered most products, which had deleted the traditional distribution chains.

"It's a monopoly practice. The city administration should also consider such malpractice in the new regulation," said Agus. (07)