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Indonesia's palm oil subsector, Volume 1
 
Author:Larson, Donald F.; Collection Title:Policy, Research working paper ; no. WPS 1654
Country:Indonesia; Date Stored:1996/09/01
Document Date:1996/09/30Document Type:Policy Research Working Paper
SubTopics:Environmental Economics & Policies; Markets and Market Access; Economic Theory & Research; Payment Systems & Infrastructure; Consumption; Access to MarketsLanguage:English
Major Sector:Agriculture, fishing, and forestryRegion:East Asia and Pacific
Report Number:WPS1654Sub Sectors:Perennial Crops
Volume No:1  

Summary: Debate on Indonesia's palm oil policy was stimulated by a sharp increase in cooking oil prices in 1994-95 and a resulting increase in the export tax rate on crude palm oil. Palm oil has been one of the fastest growing subsectors in Indonesia. Using a quantitative model, the author analyzes the effect of government policies, including the export tax, buffer stock operations by the BULOG (the national logistics agency), and directed sales from public estates. The author acknowledges the export tax's effectiveness in lowering domestic prices, but observes that its impact on inflation and consumer welfare is minimal. The tax has also had the unintended effect of transferring income from oil palm growers located primarily off Java. The structure of the tax discourages local processing by squeezing processing margins. And determining tax rates on palm oil products independent from the underlying crude palm oil price creates uncertainty about marketing margins for processors. The author recommends repealing the tax and discontinuing buffer stock operations and directed sales from public estates. The author concludes with recommendations on investment policy. Direct incentives to private investors have been used to overcome investment risks and uncertainties, but investors should no longer need those incentives. Instead, Indonesia's government should focus more on alleviating obstacles to private investment. The Bank might be of assistance in this area.

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