REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA -- The government's plan to change the formulation of gas prices must be made transparently so that state-owned companies in charge of selling gas will no longer set a closed and unilateral price, an economist said.
The government's step to decide a new gas price formulation is a positive one because it would be fair on consumers at home, economist Drajad Wibowo of the Sustainable Development Indonesia (SDI), said Saturday.
"State companies assigned to sell gas should be transparent in setting the price for consumers. It should not happen that it will disadvantage businesses and harm the interest of the people as a result of the implementation of a unilateral price," he said.
Transparent pricing could be carried out online so that consumers could see the real price and business players could also make calculations to see whether the set price is reasonable or not, he said.
Gas state companies, are obligated to be transparent because they used a lot of state funds in many forms, including in the form of state capital participation, subsidies and others, he added.
The change in the price formulation is indeed needed. Moreover, at present, the world oil prices are going down. With the change in the formulation of gas price, the people would not be burdened.
For business layers on the other hand, the change in the gas price formulation will boost the economic growth in the grass-root level.
"The government must change it if there is regulation which is unfair to the people," Drajad noted.
The government is planning to set a new gas price formulation, Director General of oil and gas of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources ESDM, I Gusti Nyoman Wiratmaja said.
The range of prices of gas at home now varies which is why his side has proposed to set a new gas price formulation so that the national gas price would be fair, according to Wiratmaja.
His office has made a price formulation proposal where the price of gas should be linked to the prices of oil and products. If the oil price jumped up it would also drive up the price of gas, he explained.
However, the gas price will also go down if the oil price drops such as now.
The change in the gas price formula will be included in the revision of ESDM minister's decree No. 19/2010 on Pipeline Natural Gas Business Activities, Wiratmaja said.
Therefore, his side is willing to know soon whether the new price formulation could be applied or not so that the formulation could be included in the decision on gas governance.
"We hope a decision would have been made in the first semester of this year," he said.
Earlier, deputy chairman of the Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) for North Sumatra Ng Pinpin, complained of the attitude of the state gas distributor (PGN) for not being open regarding the gas price. It includes the problem of prices of gas procured from the plants in Arun and in Pangkalan Susu that should be blended.
He also complained that PGN used two types of price policies which was a burden for industries, namely the imposition of a surcharge and a minimal cost.
The surcharge which is 150 percent of the normal price is imposed on industries which consumed gas exceeding their quota while the minimal cost is imposed on industries procuring gas below the limit decided by the PGN.
If industries buy gas below the minimal limit volume, they are required to pay a price up to the set minimal limit.