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Aceh People's Party opposes privatization of fertilizer company

Aceh Kita - July 5, 2007

Banda Aceh – A plan by the Aceh government to liquidate the Asean Aceh Fertilizer (AAF) factory and have it managed by a foreign company has been opposed by the Aceh People’s Party (PRA). The PRA is instead calling for the government to restart operations at the factory.

“The PRD strongly supports an effort by the Aceh government’s to restart operations at the AAF fertilizer factory, which will provide for the needs of farmers and could create employment”, said PRA spokesperson Raihana Diani in a press statement sent to Aceh Kita on Thursday July 5.

In the statement Diani said that restarting operations at the fertilizer company must be based on the interests of the Acehnese people, particularly in the context of providing employment and to overcome the high price of fertilizer.

The PRA added that the Aceh government’s plan to turn the factory into a private company is a bad move because if the factory is privatised, it will instead cause financial losses to the government and the Acehnese people.

“We are urging the government not to totally sell off the AAF factory. The Aceh government must retain [at least] 55 percent of shares in AAF”, said the women’s rights activist who was once jailed by the government of former President Megawati Sukarnoputri.

As has been reported, the Aceh government plans to liquidate the company that is located at the Krueng Geukueh seaport in North Aceh. The company, which stopped operations four years ago, will then be managed by the new investors. The government – represented by the Team of Seven headed by former Free Aceh Movement spokesperson Sofyan Dawood – has already met with investors from China. However it is still unknown for certain which investor will eventually be operating the AAF factory.

Diani, a former chairperson of the Women's Organisation for Aceh Democracy (Orpad), said that the financial losses that would arise if the factory was privately managed would include expensive fertilizer, a decline in locally generated revenue and the Aceh government’s access to the factory would also be reduced. The PRA is therefore urging the Aceh government to convert the factory into a state owned enterprise. [dzie]

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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