Economist at the Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (INDEF), Bhima Yudhistira considered the government to be late again in dealing with stock availability and price stability of garlic.
According to Bhima, the government was less alert in arresting unscrupulous garlic hoarders. Bhima assessed this scarcity occurred since January which means that before the corona virus outbreak spread.
The scarcity of garlic as of February 2020 was estimated by Bhima to reach a loss of Rp247 billion.
He used the assumption of imported garlic in the February 2 to February 14 period in the DKI Jakarta area of 480 thousand tons at a price of Rp 50,000 per kilogram.
“Consumer losses due to the scarcity of garlic in January-February reached more than Rp 200 billion, so why are the authorities so late in handling?” Bhima said in a public discussion at Paramadina University, Thursday (5/3).
In addition to garlic, Bhima also saw a surge in the price of crystal sugar due to the scarcity of the stock of goods even though the import permit had been signed by the Minister of Trade, Agus Suparmanto.
Bhima regretted the slow pace of the government in conducive commodity prices in the market so that the phenomenon of panic buying or panic buying in the community.
An example that Bhima alluded to is the availability of masks and hand sanitizers which are considered to be ineffective government communication to get public response.
“This government communication is somewhat unclear, the day before the Coordinating Minister for Politics and Security said there was no corona virus and the next day (the President) announced there were 2 positive Indonesian citizens so the market responded to it unnaturally, irrational,” Bhima said.
Previously, the Minister of Trade Agus Suparmanto had taken the step of issuing 25 thousand tons of garlic import permit in order to meet the domestic supply of garlic before the fasting month and Eid 2020.
“People do not worry, it is difficult to get out of the house, causing panic in shopping for staples. However, I urge people to be careful in taking a stand, including not to do panic buying,” Agus said Wednesday (4/3).