Bank Indonesia Supports Ban on Dollar Transactions at Ports

JAKARTA ~

Bank Indonesia (BI) has supported the government’s order to ban transactions in US dollar at Jakarta’s Tanjung Priok Port, Senior Deputy Governor Mirza Adityaswara said here on Friday.

He noted that domestic transactions must be carried out using the country’s currency in line with currency law number 7 of 2011.

“The law must be adhered to because it was formulated by the government and the parliament (DPR),” he said.

Article 21 of the law states that financial transactions carried out within the Unitary State of Indonesia must use the country’s currency, he explained.

“The law states that all transactions both cash and noncash must be carried out using rupiah,” he said.

Mirza admitted that the US dollar continued to be often used in commercial transactions in Indonesia, such as in property leasing, gas trading, and port cost payments, although they were not export-import transactions or foreign debt payments.

He noted that the situation still continued because of a lack of understanding of the people involved about the essence of the law.

Based on that he said BI and the government will continue coordinating to inform about the law.

“BI and the government will bring the law to the knowledge of the people because its violation could lead to a criminal sanction. So, we will continue to promote the law,” he affirmed.

Coordinating minister for economic affairs Chairul Tanjung during a visit to Tanjung Priok on Thursday had ordered the use of the rupiah currency in transactions at the port.

“Transactions within the Indonesian territory must be carried out using the rupiah currency. We have asked Pelindo II (the port operator) to assure that all companies at the port implement the law,” he said.

The minister pointed out that various transactions in port areas in Indonesia have often been carried out using US dollar and the rupiah currency has not been fully used.

“We will conduct information campaign for three months so that rupiah will be used across the country, and there will not be too much pressure on the rupiah,” he said.

The president director of Pelindo II, RJ Lino, agreed, saying that the use of rupiah in the port area has actually been increasing.

He pointed out that PT Pelindo II’s revenues were recorded at Rp7.5 trillion in 2013 and 65 percent of its transactions have been carried out using rupiah, up from the years before.

“In 2009, 60 percent of our income was in US dollars and only 40 percent in rupiah, but now only 35 percent of the income was in US dollar as domestic income has become higher,” he said.

Lino noted that PT Pelindo will popularize rupiah use among users of its service and oblige them to use rupiah in all their transactions, although tariffs will be levied in US dollar.

“Later, tariffs will remain in the US dollar, but payment should be made in rupiah. We will ask users of our service to pay in rupiah based on the buying and selling rates,” he added.

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