Month: October 2020



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Haslemere offer unveiled today

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Developers voice concerns over spending on housing

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Bali rejects Timor Leste’s request to quarantine citizens

first_imgThe Bali provincial administration has rejected Timor Leste’s request to put 17 of its citizens who are due to be repatriated from China due to the novel coronavirus outbreak into quarantine on the island.The decision to reject the request was made during a meeting held by the administration on Monday.“The relevant parties in the province did not agree to grant the request; therefore, it’s difficult for us to accept it,” Bali Deputy Governor Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati said on Monday, as quoted by Tjokorda said the provincial administration had responded to the government’s policy by asking all Bali tourism stakeholders, including hotel management and travel agents, to collect data on Chinese tourists who were still in Bali. The restriction is expected to affect Chinese tourists who have arrived since Feb. 2 because the average length time of Chinese tourists visiting Bali stay is four days, he added.I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali would also follow the government’s restriction on people travelling from China. “We will suspend 164 of 247 regular flights from Bali to China,” airport spokesperson Arie Ahsanurrohim said, as quoted by ban, however, would not apply to 55 flights to Hong Kong and 28 to Taipei, he went on to say.The Indonesian Tour Guide Association (HPI) in Bali has reported that the viral outbreak has affected the island’s tourism as nearly 1,000 Chinese-speaking tour guides are currently unemployed.HPI Bali Chairman I Nyoman Nuarta said some 1,300 people acted as guides for Chinese tourists visiting the island, about 80 percent of these focused on serving tourists from mainland China.Some of the unemployed tour guides have switched to other work such as taxi driving and others have chosen to return to their hometowns, he said.“Hopefully, this won’t last too long and there will soon be certainty,” he added. (syk)Topics : He previously said Timor Leste had asked for Indonesian permits and assistance to quarantine 17 of its citizens in Bali. The request was made through the Indonesian Embassy in Dili.The decision was made based on considerations and input from several tourism stakeholders in Bali.It is also in line with Indonesia’s policy to restrict travel to visitors from China because of the outbreak, by suspending flights to and from all regions in mainland China. Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi said on Sunday that Indonesia would bar visitors who have been to China in the past 14 days. The ban will be effective starting Feb. 5.Read also: 10,000 Chinese tourists cancel trips to Bali over coronavirus fears: Travel grouplast_img read more


Outbreak impact: Scarcity makes garlic price skyrocket in North Sumatra

first_img“The lack of stock makes [the garlic] so expensive,” said M. Siddik, 40, a merchant at Medan Petisah Market on Friday, adding that the garlic supply mostly came from China.Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, which was first detected in the city of Wuhan in Hubei province in China, the markets in the province have seen a decline in supply.Siddik said that the high prices had caused his sales to decline. However, he had to continue selling the garlic at the current price as he had to pay similar high prices to his distributors.Read also: Jokowi asks aides to assess coronavirus impact on economy, Indonesia-China trade Over the past week North Sumatra residents have seen a skyrocketing rise in the price of garlic, a staple ingredient in Indonesia, as supplies run short with some believing the shortage is a result of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak in China.The price currently stands at Rp 52,000 (US$3.81) per kilogram, more than double the usual Rp 25,000 per kg.Looking at the trend, merchants in the province have expressed their concerns over possible higher prices, if the scarcity continues. Jakson, a garlic seller in the Medan Metropolitan Trade Center, said the price was getting higher every day. He said he was concerned the price would hit Rp 70,000 per kg within the next few days if the supply remained limited.”If the supply is still disrupted, the price could reach between Rp 60,000 and Rp 70,000 per kg, and maybe even higher,” he told The Jakarta Post.Garlic distributor Utari said she decided to double her supply to 2 tons per day as a strategy to maintain the price.”The same thing is done by merchants. They stock up on garlic from us because they think tomorrow the price will go up again,” Utari said.According to Statistics Indonesia (BPS), North Sumatra’s garlic imports declined by 58.4 percent to 29.24 million tons last year from 70.41 million tons in 2018. Of the 2018 imports, 70.18 million tons were imported from China, while the rest came from India.The Trade Ministry’s price monitoring team head for North Sumatra, Gunawan Benjamin, the continuous news about the coronavirus had shaken up domestic food prices – especially imported ingredients.He urged the government to open imports of garlic from other countries to maintain the domestic stock at an affordable price. (eyc)Topics :last_img read more


China signals progress in virus battle as Disney partially reopens

first_imgTopics : China reported 40 new infections nationwide on Monday — the smallest increase since the country began reporting the data in January.Nearly all the fresh cases and 22 new deaths were in Wuhan, the capital of central Hubei province, which has been under lockdown for weeks. The latest fatalities bring the country’s death toll to 3,119.A senior official hinted last week that China could soon lift the travel restrictions on Hubei, which has effectively kept about 56 million people housebound.  Around 19,000 people are still getting treatment for the virus, down from a high of 58,000 on February 24.Shanghai Disney said it was reopening its shopping and entertainment Disneytown zone — plus a park and hotel in the same complex — in the “first step of a phased reopening”.The Disneyland amusement park, however, remains closed.In Wuhan, 11 of 16 makeshift hospitals that were converted from public facilities including stadiums and schools were shuttered by Sunday, the official Xinhua news agency reported.Two of the most recent makeshift hospitals that closed — a converted sports centre and a factory — had enough capacity for nearly 2,000 people at a time and discharged their last 61 patients on Sunday, Xinhua said.Hubei Airport Group ordered all airports in the province to get back to work by Thursday, in a sign that the province is preparing to resume flights.Wuhan’s Tianhe airport — which suspended flights on January 23 except for airlifts for foreigners — said Monday that some of its managers had already resumed work. Ikea, schools reopen Swedish furniture giant Ikea has reopened 16 of its stores with shorter opening hours in China, after closing all outlets in the country in late January, the company said.Meanwhile, some regions are gearing up to reopen schools this week, after more than a month of closures across the country.Qinghai province, spread across the Tibetan Plateau, announced in late February that high schools and vocational schools would resume gradually from Monday.Middle schools would reopen later in the month.Mountainous Guizhou province in southwest China has also said some students in high school and middle school would resume classes from March 16.The only new cases outside Hubei were four imported from overseas, the health commission said, bringing the total number of infections brought into the country to 67.The rise in imported cases is fueling fears that the country’s progress in bringing infections down could be undone, and several local authorities are imposing quarantines on those arriving from hard-hit areas.center_img China closed several makeshift hospitals for coronavirus patients, some schools reopened and Disney resort staff went back to work Monday as normality slowly returns to the country after weeks battling the epidemic. New virus cases in China — which accounts for the vast majority of the more than 100,000 infections worldwide — have declined in recent weeks in a sign the country’s unprecedented lockdown measures are working.The improving situation stands in stark contrast with the growing global spread of the disease that has affected scores of countries and prompted some governments to impose their own draconian measures and quarantines.last_img read more


15,000 medical students ready to join fight against COVID-19: House

first_imgAt least 15,000 medical students nationwide are ready to be deployed in the country’s fight against COVID-19, according to House of Representatives Commission X overseeing education, and the Education and Culture Ministry.Commission X chairman Syaiful Huda said students from 158 universities had signed up to the ministry to help around 1,500 doctors and 2,500 nurses, as reported by the government’s COVID-19 rapid response team.“This is good news because many places are expected to soon have a shortage of medical workers, as COVID-19 cases escalate,” Syaiful said in a statement on Thursday.Education and Culture Minister Nadiem Makarim previously called on the public, and especially university students, across the country to join efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.The minister said he felt “touched” after hearing the willingness of the 15,000 students to volunteer in the COVID-19 fight.Read also: Doctors and nurses wanted: Regions brace for COVID-19 amid medical staff shortageApart from mobilizing university students, the ministry has also prepared laboratories to test more samples from people suspected of having contracted COVID-19, and turned some of its facilities into isolation wards.There are currently 13 medical schools and 13 educational hospitals appointed by the Health Ministry to be COVID-19 test labs.It has also prepared an educational hospital to be ready to treat COVID-19 patients.Syaiful called on the government to train the volunteers and equip them with personal protective gear to do the volunteer work. “This is important because they are our children. We don’t want them to get infected,” he said, adding that not only medical staff, but the rapid response team was also in need of volunteers for hospital administration staff and ambulance drivers.Topics :last_img read more


Risalah Jakarta urges Jokowi to expand heath facilities, impose territorial quarantine

first_imgCommunity forum Risalah Jakarta has urged President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to improve health facilities and impose a strict territorial quarantine as COVID-19 cases continue to climb.Risalah Jakarta includes religious leaders, activists, academics and cultural figures in Jakarta. The forum was initiated by former Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin and has been facilitated by the ministry since 2018.Alissa Wahid, who is a moderator of the forum, said the government should focus on building more emergency hospitals at both the central and regional levels. “If necessary, prepare field hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients with mild infections. Allow hospitals that have stated their readiness to conduct rapid tests and accelerate the acquisition of test results,” Alissa said in a press release on Thursday.She added that the ongoing health crisis was an extraordinary circumstance and the result of a serious and infectious disease, as reflected by the declaration of a public health emergency, so it required a strict restriction policy.“Consider the proposed territorial quarantine policy to the extent that is required by the urgency of the situation, duration, geographical coverage and scope. Simplify government licensing for the need to act fast,” she said.Alissa thought the social distancing policy and the appeal to stay at home had not reached their goal and that the government needed to increase the community’s sensitivity to the crisis. Read also: Governor Anies calls for greater authority to handle COVID-19 epicenterThe 2018 Health Quarantine Law stipulated four quarantine measures: home quarantine, hospital quarantine, territorial quarantine and large-scale social distancing.President Jokowi declared a COVID-19 public health emergency on Tuesday. He also decided to impose large-scale social distancing measures using powers established by the health quarantine law.On the same day, Risalah Jakarta sent an open letter to the President, urging him to improve parts of the pandemic response, including medical facilities and equipment, social security and the legal compliance of all parties during the crisis.Member Usman Hamid, who is also the executive director of Amnesty International Indonesia, stressed the importance of social security in times of social restriction.“It will adversely affect the right of people to work, especially citizens who have unstable jobs, those with low incomes or informal workers, who are affected disproportionately,” said Usman.He said companies, except those in health care and other essential sectors, should allow employees to work from home, but the government needed to ensure all affected citizens had enough access to social security.Risalah Jakarta called on the government to cooperate with agencies dealing with COVID-19 in other countries and allow intervention in areas that were significantly affected and had the potential to spread the disease.The forum also asked Indonesia to learn from other countries’ experiences to carry out protocols and procurement precisely, quickly and on a large scale.As of Thursday, Indonesian health authorities had confirmed 1,790 cases of COVID-19 with 170 fatalities across 32 provinces. Topics :last_img read more


Explainer: What does the oil price crash mean for Indonesia?

first_imgGlobal crude oil prices have crashed to record lows this year as a result of a collapse in the demand for oil amid the COVID-19 pandemic and a price war between the world’s major producers, Saudi Arabia and Russia.US crude fell to negative value for first time in history on April 20 as the coronavirus crisis sapped demand and producers ran out of places to store all their excess barrels of crude. Oil prices slightly recovered in the following days as demand, battered by COVID-19 restrictions, started to increase.However, despite the surge, crude prices remain low with West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures at $17.75 per barrel and Brent crude at $25.38 a barrel on Thursday, Reuters reported. Experts say the price crash hit the upstream oil industry, which is a major contributor to Indonesia’s state revenue, hardest. However, they also say the crash provides some relief to midstream players, both fuel refiners and distributors, amid slumping demand for fuel, a commodity mainly used by the transportation sector.The price crash also helped many consumers worldwide save on fuel expenses but not so in Indonesia, which imposed a low price ceiling for fuel distributors just prior to the crash.“We are going to be hit from many angles,” economist Enrico Tanuwidjaya of Singapore-based United Overseas Bank (UOB) told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday. DownstreamContrary to other Southeast Asian countries, Indonesia’s fuel prices have not budged since the crash and local stakeholders have not signaled a discount any time soon, citing multiple reasons.State-owned oil company Pertamina, which operates over 90 percent of gas stations in the country, frequently says that Indonesia’s falling demand undermines the need for cheaper fuel.Company data obtained by the Post shows that Pertamina’s gasoline and diesel sales between March and April were, respectively, 16.8 percent and 8.4 percent lower than the previous two months. The fall was mainly caused by the implementation of social restrictions in Indonesia’s big cities since the middle of March.Fuel consumption dropped to such an extent that Jakarta’s air pollution level fell by a third and two West Java mountains became visible from the notoriously smoggy capital city.“Prices are low but people are not buying our stuff, so we are not earning,” Pertamina president director Nicke Widyawati told legislators via video conference last week.Several observers including a trade union, the National Federation of Trade Union (KSPN), previously urged Pertamina and the government to reduce fuel prices to help Indonesia’s poorest families weather the economic shocks caused by the emergency measures to curb the COVID-19 transmission. The government introduced earlier this year a price ceiling on fuel sales.Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry spokesman Agung Pribadi, whose ministry issued the price ceiling, countered this argument by pointing out that the government’s fuel subsidy program for the poor remains in place.“The government is still observing and evaluating oil price developments,” he said in a statement.MidstreamWith falling global gasoline prices and declining domestic fuel demand, Pertamina has plans to import 9.3 million barrels of gasoline and to cut back its monthly crude oil-refining operations by 43 percent starting May “over the course of COVID-19”.Pertamina, which operates Indonesia’s biggest refineries, will execute the steepest output cut for jet fuel or avtur by 66.3 percent and unsubsidized diesel by 72 percent. The former fuel is mainly used by airplanes and the latter by commercial vehicles.“We expect 2020 refining margins to be the weakest in the last 20-25 years,” said Sushant Gupta, research director at energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie, commenting on the expected performance of Asia Pacific oil refineries this year.Gupta advises refiners to be flexible in adjusting refinery output to those oil-based products with fastest growing demand. He added that low oil prices provided an opportunity for Asia’s heavy oil-consuming countries “to expedite filling up their petroleum reserves.”In line with Wood Mackenzie’s analysis, Pertamina’s Nicke told legislators that the company was looking to diversify its refinery output into petrochemicals. The state-owned company also rented three oil tankers while prowling for a fourth tanker to stockpile cheap oil.However, Nicke said that, going forward, the company would not purchase more storage space because tanker rental prices were soaring as many other countries implement similar hoarding strategies.UpstreamFalling crude oil prices have forced Indonesia to revise down its annual oil production target, setting the country a step back from its ambition of becoming a self-sufficient oil economy.The Upstream Oil and Gas Special Regulatory Taskforce (SKK Migas), initially bent on maintaining 2020 targets, recently revised down by 4 percent to 725,000 barrels of oil per day (mbopd), amid mounting economic pressure.“We are looking for ways out so that changes aren’t that big,” said SKK Migas head Dwi Soetjipto.Indonesia’s top two homegrown oil producers, Pertamina and privately owned PT Medco Energi Internasional, have cut back upstream production targets by 29,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) and up to 10,000 boepd, respectively.Pertamina projects its upstream revenue to fall by up to 59 percent below initial expectations this year under a worst-case scenario, whereby the national benchmark Indonesian Crude Price (ICP) averages $31 per barrel this year.EconomyTwo economists told the Post that the crash will likely have a negative impact on Indonesia’s state revenues but positive impact on the country’s current account deficit (CAD) as the decline in the US dollar spending for oil imports will reduce the deficit.A sizeable portion of the country’s CAD, which puts pressure on the rupiah exchange rate, comes from oil imports.The economists expect state revenue shortfalls from the oil and gas industry to exceed savings from fuel subsidies, which are expected to fall due to the decline in demand. The government had, prior to the pandemic, expected to earn Rp 127.3 trillion from the industry and spend Rp 18.7 trillion on fuel subsidies this year.“So a marginal benefit plus a relatively significant impact on crude revenue then, on a net basis, fiscally, its negative but for the CAD it will actually help narrow it,” said economist Enrico.“We import crude and fuel in huge volumes – around 800,000 barrels per day – but with such low prices then the import value of that crude and fuel becomes very cheap,” said energy economist Fahmy Radhi of Gadjah Mada University (UGM) on Wednesday.However, Fahmy said that falling crude prices also risked derailing the value of Indonesia’s other commodity exports such as metal ores and coal, whose international trade prices are tied to oil prices, among other variables.center_img Topics :last_img read more


KPK detains two suspects over alleged bribery at Sukamiskin penitentiary

first_imgDeddy was slapped with multiple charges for allegedly violating the 2001 Corruption Law, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment and a Rp 1 billion (US$67,685) fine.Rahadian was arrested for allegedly bribing another former Sukamiskin penitentiary warden, Wahid Husein, with a Mitsubishi Pajero Sports car registered under the name of his subordinate. Karyoto said the car was allegedly given in exchange for partnership deals between Rahadian’s company and the prison’s printing business, as well as with cooperatives of two other prisons.Rahadian was charged for allegedly violating the 2001 Corruption Law and faces a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment and a Rp 250 million fine.“Both suspects would be detained for 20 days from April 30 until May 19 at the KPK detention center [in Kuningan, East Jakarta],” Karyoto said during a press conference on Thursday. Investigators of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) have detained two suspects allegedly involved in bribery related to special treatment at the Sukamiskin penitentiary in Bandung, West Java.The suspects, former Sumakaskin penitentiary warden Deddy Handoko and the president director of private firm PT Glori Karsa Abadi, Rahadian Azhar, were detained on Thursday after being named suspects by the KPK last year.KPK deputy director for law enforcement Karyoto said Deddy was arrested for allegedly receiving a 2016 Toyota Innova car from graft inmate Tubagus Chaeri Wardana aka Wawan. The car was allegedly given in exchange for prison leave permits given to Wawan on 36 different occasions between 2016 and 2018. Read also: Cost of enjoying ‘VIP’ cell in Bandung prison: At least Rp 200 millionThe two were arrested after investigations took place over previous Sukamiskin prison bribery cases involving Wahid and Wawan, who were arrested in July 2018 and October 2019 respectively. Wahid was arrested along with five other suspects, including a government official, graft convicts and their relatives and a prison official, before being sentenced by the Jakarta Corruption Court to eight years’ imprisonment and fined Rp 400 million in April 2019 for accepting bribes from three individuals, including Wawan.Wawan, the younger brother of former Banten governor and graft convict Ratu Atut, was convicted of bribing Wahid and Deddy in exchange for prison leave permits. The case marked his fourth time being implicated over graft. He was previously arrested over a Banten regional election dispute in 2013 and named a suspect for healthcare procurement graft between 2006 and 2013 and money laundering in 2014.Rampant bribery at the Sukamiskin penitentiary, which houses graft convicts, prompted the KPK to call for firm action and prison reform by the Law and Human Rights Ministry in 2018.center_img Topics :last_img read more