Ihsanuddin, Jakarta – Papuan religious figure Pastor John Djonga says that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s one price fuel policy in Papua has yet to run smoothly.
He says that the price of BBM (fuel) only goes down to Java prices when Widodo pays an impromptu visit to Papua. But soon after he leaves, the fuel prices shoot up again.
“He goes home, one or two weeks later, the price returns to ‘normal’”, said Djonga when speaking at a national seminar titled Three years of the Jokowi-JK Administration in Papua at the LIPI Auditorium in Jakarta on Monday December 18.
Djonga said that he has observed this directly in mountainous Yahukimo regency in the country’s easternmost region.
When Widodo first promoted the one fuel price program in the regency in October 2016, Djonga concedes prices did go down to same as Java, 6,450 rupiah per litre for premium (subsidised leaded petrol) and 5,150 per litre for solar (diesel).
“Now it’s back to 30,000 rupiah. Moreover in the lead up to the New Year and Christmas, last year we reached 100,000 rupiah”, said Djonga.
Djonga said that the one price fuel policy has indeed been very good for the Papuan people. But unfortunately, the program has not run well due to lack of supervision.
“So then who should monitor it and deal with it? [Government] officials in the region, are there lots of regents in Jayapura or in Jakarta”, said Djonga.
One price fuel
The one price fuel policy was launched by Widodo at the Nop Goliat Dekai Airport in Yahukimo on October 18, 2016.
In his greetings Widodo asserted that fuel prices throughout Papua and West Papua provinces must be the same as other regions, namely 6,450 rupiah per litre for premium.
Widodo said that there had been years and years of price injustice because the price of premium in isolated areas in Papua has reached as much as 100,000 rupiah per litre.
At the time, Widodo said that the state-owned fuel company Pertamina has taken all the necessary steps to reduce fuel prices in Papua, the first being developing nine fuel distribution agencies.
The fuel storage capacity at distributors has also been increased. Pertamina has also purchased two Air Tractor AT-802 aircraft which can transport 4,000 litres of fuel for distribution in areas that are difficult to reach by land.
Widodo said that he hoped that the in practices the distribution of fuel on the ground will live up to expectations. He cautioned against the sale of cheap fuel only being controlled by certain groups then being resold at higher prices to the public.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was Kata Tokoh Papua, Harga BBM Hanya Turun Saat Jokowi Blusukan ke Papua.]