Facebook wants drones to boost Indonesia’s access to internet

The government and social media giant Facebook are seeking cooperation to boost internet access for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), Vice President Jusuf Kalla said on Saturday after a meeting with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the sidelines of an APEC summit in Lima.TheJakartaPost

Better internet access could help thousands of Indonesian SMEs in remote regions of the country that so far have not been able to promote their products domestically and internationally.

Kalla said Zuckerberg had offered Indonesia to use Facebook’s Aquila drone, a solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicle, to beam the internet to remote parts of Indonesia. He added that the government welcomed the plan and had assigned the Industry Ministry to work on the details.

He said better connectivity could help SMEs in the regions grow their business. “An online system provides information about the market and products. This system could unite markets and protect the quality of products being sold in the market,” Kalla said. Facebook’s offer to Indonesia is part of the company’s effort to help small businesses tap the potential economic benefits from around 4.2 billion people around the world who have yet to get access to the internet.

“Mark [Zuckerberg] in his speeches cited Indonesia as an example where regions could be connected through the internet to produce economic benefits,” Kalla said. Under President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration, Indonesia’s vision for the digital economy foresees local companies valued at a total of US$130 billion and the birth of 1,000 so-called technopreneurs by 2020.

Jokowi has issued a number of policies to implement its e-commerce road map, including economic stimulus packages and greater access to financial support for SMEs and IT-based companies.

Kalla said the government had given financial support to SMEs across the country, which would be supplemented by an agreement by APEC members to help each other in conducting training to support SMEs. “When we talk about SMEs, we are talking about the SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals]. With strong SMEs a country can alleviate poverty, as demanded by the APEC,” Kalla said.

On Saturday, the first day of the two-day APEC summit, Kalla joined the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) along with 21 leaders of APEC member countries, including outgoing US President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, to discuss a theme titled “Growing Global MSMEs and Promoting Sustainable Development.” Kalla said that during the forum Indonesia had proposed that APEC member countries cut import tariffs on what he called Indonesia’s development products, such as crude palm oil, coffee, cocoa, rubber and rattan. “The development products must be accepted without tariffs in those countries, because that is one of the ways to support agricultural products in a developing country like Indonesia. If such products are prevented [from entering foreign markets] it will create a new kind of poverty,” Kalla said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Minister AM Fachir said Indonesia welcomed the adoption of APEC’s Education Strategy and the APEC Baseline Report on Current Education Status during the APEC Ministerial Meeting (AMM), which had “Developing Human Capital” as its theme. “Indonesia is committed to creating an education community that is strong and cohesive at the APEC,” said Fachir.

Combodia Govt eyes million-tonne rice quota deal with Indonesia

Cambodia is close to signing an ambitious agreement with the Indonesian government that would pave the way for the Kingdom’s rice producers to export 1 million tonnes of rice under a new quota scheme, a state official said (Read full news)

Soeng Sophary, spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce, said a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Cambodia and Indonesia has already been finalised and is ready for ink. “Everything is agreed upon between the two governments already,” she said. “We are just waiting for the right time to sign the MoU and then the private sector will be engaged in the process.” She added that the new quota scheme presented a valuable opportunity for Cambodia’s rice sector. “This would bring a new market for the country’s rice producers and would provide the private sector with fair market value,” she said, adding that the quota scheme was in line with the government’s elusive target of exporting 1 million tonnes of rice a year by 2015, which it fell well short of achieving.

According to Ministry of Commerce estimates, Cambodia has a current rice production capacity of 3 million tonnes providing the grain is properly harvested and stored. Sophary added that local media had erroneously reported last week that the ministry was negotiating a deal to export 1 million tonnes of rice to Malaysia. She said that the only major rice deal on the table was with the Indonesian government.

Hean Vanhan, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Agriculture, said that even if an MoU were signed, it would not guarantee the sale of rice to Indonesia as Cambodia must still compete on price and quality with rival suppliers, such as Thailand and Vietnam. “The intention to export 1 million tonnes of rice has always been part of the government’s strategy, but whether it is a reality or not depends on if we can compete in the market,” he said. Cambodia only managed to export around 500,000 tonnes last year.

According to Vanhan, the main obstacles that have prevented the Kingdom from achieving its 1 million tonne export target were millers’ capital shortages, inefficient logistical capacity, insufficient storage capacity, and the high cost of electricity. He added, however, that capacity for exports was not an issue.Hun Lak, vice president of the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF), said that the Commerce Ministry’s plan was overly ambitious and the Kingdom was years away from being able to export 1 million tonnes annually. “The industry is not yet ready for a 1 million tonne agreement, and we would need at least two to three years before it would be possible to reach that level of export,” he said. “Rice millers still do not have enough capital to buy paddy rice, pay for storage and transportation.”

Cambodia signed an MoU with the Indonesian government back in 2012 which outlined a more modest goal of exporting 100,000 tonnes of rice a year. Sophary could not comment on whether the target of the agreement was ever achieved.

Filipino-owned beauty company conquers Indonesia

The beauty care products that are loved by many Davaoeños for many years already are now invading the Indonesian market. The home-grown skin and beauty company, RDL Pharmaceutical Laboratory Inc., recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with an Indonesian firm, the PT. Amosys Indonesia. (Sunstar)

The contract signing on their business partnership was held last September 24 at the Convention Hall of D’ Leonor Inland Resort and Adventure Park at Communal Buhangin, Davao City.

The Pt. Amosys Indonesia is a subsidiary of a group of companies that is also into plantation, mining, property, plant, garment, hotels and other business. It now serves as the distributor of RDL products in Indonesia.

Present during the signing are Leonora Lim (RDL CEO and president), Robert Lim, RDL COO and executive vice president), Mercedita Lim (RDL vice president for operations), Alexander Lim (RDL vice president for admin), Anthony John Modequillo (RDL sales and marketing manager for local and export), Ramon Jao (RDL foreign business consultant for Indonesia), Romeo Jardiel (RDL assistant to the EVP), Budi Santoso (PT. Amosys business development manager), Kawiro Susilo (PT. Amosys managing director), and Desirya (PT. Amosys sales and marketing director).

“We like to bring the legacy of Madam Leonor to the next level. Their products are well-accepted in Indonesia,” says Susilo in an interview. For Modequillo, their partnership with PT. Amosys is a good avenue to expand their market and let their products be known to the other parts of the world as well. “We choose PT. Amosys because they are capable and they are the biggest distributor in Indonesia. We believe that this partnership is a better opportunity for RDL to explore and penetrate the whole Indonesia and in the world, hopefully,” Modequillo said.

The RDL Sales and Marketing Manager added that since last year, 70 percent of their products are distributed on the international market while 30 percent are widely-distributed within their local distributors.

“Bale sa 100 percent na ini-export namin, 60 percent of it goes to Indonesia while the remaining are distributed to the different parts of the world.” Majority of their well-loved products include whitening, anti-aging, moisturizer, sun block, RDL Kit, astringent, toners, creams, lotions, and soaps. Aside from Indonesia, RDL products are also exported in Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Malaysia, Thailand, Pakistan, Nepal, Singapore, and some countries in the Middle East. As the business continue to grow, RDL is making sure that the beauty products they are delivering are coupled with sense of customer service, excellence and innovation.

The company, which is 100 percent Filipino-owned, assured that they are committed to produce high quality, safe and innovative products to its valued customers in both local and international markets. With its aim to produce high quality stuff, the company is adopting the International Organization for Standardization 9001:2000. Also present during the contract signing are Indonesian Consulate to Davao General Berlain Napitupulu and Consul Wayhu Permana.

IDX predicts bigger tax amnesty participation in 2nd round

The Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) is optimistic that even more investors will repatriate their assets in the second round of the tax amnesty program, which will start from Oct. 1, despite the higher redemption rate of 3 percent—compared to the 2 percent rate in the first round of the program. (TheJakartaPost.com)

“Previously, the late issuance of finance ministerial regulations [PMK] hampered companies from joining the program. Thus, I believe they will join in the second round and will still be happy with the 3 percent rate,” IDX president director Tito Sulistio said at Hard Rock Hotel, Badung, Bali.

Citing the success of the tax amnesty’s first round, he said he believed the country might reap more than Rp 150 trillion in revenue from penalties at the end of the tax amnesty period. As for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), Tito predicted around 30,000 to 40,000 SMEs would join the program, which will end in March 2017. Currently, the IDX has recruited online marketplace Buka Lapak to hold a campaign to lure SMEs to join the program. 

In a bid to ensure SMEs join the program, he called on the government to simplify the tax amnesty application procedure, especially for those whose business and/or sales were online. “I have requested the government not to require wet signatures from online vendors. If they’re only required to submit electronic signatures, I’m sure more SMEs will join the program,” Tito said.