Indonesia has issued about 302,000 tonnes of palm oil export permits since the country restarted exports, Minister Luhut Pandjaitan said on Sunday, while reassuring farmers and exporters that authorities would speed up the permitting process.
Indonesia, the world’s largest producer of palm oil, on April 28 halted exports of oil, which it uses for cooking, in a bid to control soaring prices there.
The government has allowed exports to resume from May 23, but has put in place policies to safeguard domestic supply, including the so-called Domestic Market Obligation (DMO) under which producers must first sell some of their products at home.
The policy changes have led to red tape and slow issuance of export permits, industry groups and traders said, helping to keep world palm oil prices high in the region. a context of weak production from rival Malaysia. [POI/]
An official from the Indonesian Palm Oil Association said on Friday that a number of palm oil factories had stopped buying palm fruits from farmers due to a lack of exports, while farmers have complained that the price of the fruit has yet to recover to pre-ban levels after falling by around 75%.
“Acceleration measures will be taken if we deem that the prices of fruit palm oil at farmer level are still too low,” Luhut said, reiterating that the government reserves 1 million tonnes of export quota. .
Indonesia typically exports around 2.5 million tons of palm oil products per month.
Luhut said the government would require palm oil companies to sell an equivalent of 300,000 tonnes of cooking oil per month under the DMO during a transition period after exports resume.
Indonesian Economy Ministry official Musdhalifah Machmud said at the same briefing that the government had made an adjustment regarding the export tax and that a regulation detailing the changes would be issued soon. She declined to give further details.
Indonesia currently imposes a maximum tax of $375 per ton for crude palm oil exports in addition to a maximum export tax of $200 per ton. The levy cap was raised in March in a bid to encourage more onshore sales.
Meanwhile, Luhut also said that the government will conduct an audit on the palm sector to ensure that such problems do not reoccur in the future.
Since November, authorities have introduced a bewildering array of measures including subsidies, export permit requirements and a palm oil tax and export bans to try to contain prices. cooking oil with little success.
(Reporting by Fransiska Nangoy; Editing by Catherine Evans and Kirsten Donovan)
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