08 July 2009
Alcohol in Indonesia
Indonesia is the world's sixth largest importer of alcohol. This is pretty impressive for a country that despite its claims of being a moderate secular society still frowns on alcohol consumption.
In light of the fact of the potential for growth in the alcoholic beverages market in Indonesia were the government to free up controls on both local and foreign investment in the sector, the likelihood of this happening seems remote, actually very remote.
Investment in the alcohol sector is strictly regulated. In fact, investment in this sector is "closed "according to the negative investment list. Closed simply means that there is to be no investment into the sector because it is a sector that is deemed to be detrimental to the development and harmony of the Indonesian community.
Yet, considering the amount of alcohol imported, there would seem to be some good arguments for allowing the development of the sector so that the amount of imported alcohol could be reduced over time and replaced by locally produced alcohol.
The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) is advocating and lobbying for the government to lift the restrictions on investment. This is not going to be successful! There is no political expediency in the move for the government and there is nothing to be gained by the government entertaining the move. However, it is worth noting that investment in the sector would undoubtedly create jobs for Indonesians. Whether or not this balances out the perceived social ills that alcohol brings is a matter for further debate, so it seems.
In the meantime Indonesians and visitors alike will get to watch the destruction of much of the illegal alcohol that finds its way into the Republic like in the photo above.