Wed, 06 Aug 2003

Councils reject plan to revise market baylaw

Bambang Nurbianto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Claiming to defend the interests of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the City Council rejected on Tuesday plans to review a bylaw which obliges the owners of shopping centers to allocate space to SME's.

"The revision of the bylaw will not occur. It is our aim to help small and medium enterprises," the City Council's Commission B for development affairs Dani Anwar said.

Dani said that the council would develop new methods of implementing the bylaw instead.

He added that Cilandak Town Square in South Jakarta, Senayan Plaza in Central Jakarta, all Carrefour outlets and some 14 businessmen, who planned to open shopping centers, had already agreed to comply with the bylaw.

"Why should some businessmen reject the bylaw when so many have complied. It is the responsibility of the administration to monitor its application," Dani added.

Commission B member Haim Mahadin said the city administration needed to crack down on market operators who ignored the bylaw.

"We should be firm about implementing the bylaw. If this bylaw is ignored a bad precedent will be set and people will not trust any regulations we make," Haim, a councillor of the National Mandate Party, said.

Assistant to the city secretary for economic affairs Hari Sandjojo said he had coordinated with relevant officials in trying to make sure that operators of the shopping malls and supermarkets would comply with the bylaw.

"Of course, we will watch to ensure that the bylaw works, that businessmen comply with the regulation," Hari said, adding that many businessman had paid compensation before the bylaw came into effect in the middle of last year.

He said the bylaw would only be enforced for shopping malls and supermarkets that had opened after the bylaw came into effect and those who had not paid compensation.

The bylaw states that the owners of shopping centers with an area of between 200 square meters (sqm) and 500 sqm should set apart 10 percent of the space for SMEs, and shopping centers with an area of over 500 sqm should set apart 20 percent of the space for SMEs.

If the review of bylaw No. 2/2002 on private markets was approved, businessmen could pay compensation instead of allocating space to SMEs.

Governor Sutiyoso, apparently under pressure from the owners of shopping centers, had earlier expressed his willingness to review the bylaw.

After meeting with Sutiyoso, the chairman of the Indonesian Shopping Centers Association, M. Sjohirin, claimed that the bylaw could harm both the business owners and SMEs.

Sjohirin argued that the owners would suffer financially from the loss of space to SMEs and the SMEs would not be able to compete with the range and quality of products sold by bigger businesses.