Riani Sanusi Putri, Jakarta – Director of the Indonesian Bureau of Logistics (Buloag) Budi Waseso, admitted that he had received reports concerning rice smuggling to Timor Leste. The rice was smuggled to neighboring countries through Atambua, East Nusa Tenggara. In Timor Leste, the smuggled rice are being sold at Rp20,000 per kilogram.
Budi said that the smuggling had caused losses to the Indonesian government and disrupted Bulog operations to suppress rice price increase. "This country is trying to fulfill the people's needs but there are individuals who wanted to take advantage, businesses who did this will bring Bulog rice to outside the country," Budi said.
Budi admitted that he received the report about the smuggling from the Police. However, he refused to provide further details. Budi only said that he received the information after conducting a site visit to Cipinang Central Rice Market. Budi said that investigation will continue to be carried until the actual smuggler can be found.
Suspicions concerning the misappropriation of the rice has been raised since early 2023. Budi again highlighted suspicions on the presence of a rice mafia, who caused rice prices to soar despite the additional stocks from import.
Last week, Budi conducted a sudden site visit to three warehouses belonging to Pt Food Station Tjipinang Jaya. During the visit, Budi discovered piles of Bulog rice along rice of other brands. Among the pile were empty rice sacks with various brands.
Budi suspected that the Bulog rice was packed into sacks labelled with premium brands. As a result, Bulog rice which was supposed to be sold at Rp8,900 experienced a steep price increase to Rp12,000 per kilogram.