Thursday, 16 July 2009

Asmindo lobbies local govts

Mustaqim Adamrah , THE JAKARTA POST , JAKARTA | Thu, 07/16/2009

A furniture entrepreneurs group is lobbying regional administrations to help overcome the shortage of raw materials for furniture in part caused by regional law enforcers cracking down on wood deliveries and smuggling.

Indonesian Furniture Entrepreneurs Association (Asmindo) chairman Ambar Tjahyono said, the lobby aimed to boost coordination among regional institutions, including the local law enforcers who had often stopped trucks transporting wood alleging them of being the results of illegal logging activities.

As part of the lobby attempts, Ambar said the association went to Central Kalimantan last month to forge cooperation with Governor Agustin Teras Narang.

"There will be an agreement with Central Kalimantan *Governor* Teras Narang soon. He said he'd welcome such an agreement," Ambar recently said.

"Once the agreement was endorsed, police won't be able to seize wood being transported *whenever they want* any more."

He said the grouping was planning to make similar agreements with other governors of, among others, West Nusa Tenggara, Papua and Central Sulawesi, later this year.

Poor coordination among state apparatus in regions has been occurring for some time, disrupting the flow of wood to supply the country's handicraft and furniture industry.

The central government is also doing something to help fix the problem, with Industry Ministry Fahmi Idris revealing that the government is to soon establish two wood terminals in Kendal, Central Java, and in Tuban, East Java.

He said the wood terminal in Kendal would start operations by the end of this year, while the other one early in the following year.

"All woods transported into a wood terminal will be legal. as the whole process, right from logging to delivery, is tightly supervised," he recently told The Jakarta Post.

He said the country ideally needed one more terminal to contain a mix of wood and rattan in greater Cirebon, West Java, but financial constraints had halted the plan.

Cirebon is home to an immense amount of furniture entrepreneurs using wood and rattan.

In addition to wood, Asmindo, along with the Indonesian Rattan Furniture and Craft Association (AMKRI), have been also suffering from a shortage in raw rattan due to export of the material, both legally and illegally.

A 2005 Trade Minister regulation on rattan export terms and conditions allows a maximum of 25,000 tons per year for exports of raw rattan, a maximum of 16,000 tons per year for exports of semi-finished rattan produced from sega and irit plants, and a maximum of 36,000 tons per year for exports of semi-finished rattan produced from other plants.

Despite the raw materials problem, the furniture industry remains one of the country's largest contributors when it comes to foreign exchange earnings.

In 2008, the country managed to increase its furniture exports to US$2.7 billion in 2008, from $1.9 billion recorded in the previous year.