Indonesian Gov’t to Modernize Thousands of Traditional Markets

Indonesia will refurbish 1,592 traditional markets across the country this year as part of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s nine-pronged and domestic-focused Nawacita development program, its Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said on Thursday (04/01).

A total of Rp 5.5 trillion ($409 million) will be made available to modernize 267 markets through co-administration funding (TP), 1,275 markets through special allocation funding (DAK) and 50 markets under the management of the Cooperatives and Small Businesses Ministry.

Enggartiasto said the government faces many challenges in trying to modernize traditional markets, ranging from budget limitations to protests from market sellers.

“It’s not easy to rebuild or move [traditional] markets. Moving an old market always raises problems… even if we only move it 500 meters away from its original site. The sellers never want to move,” Enggartiasto told reporters during a press conference in Jakarta.

The ministry’s director general of national export development, Tjahya Widayanti, warned regional administrations to treat sellers fairly when they refurbish a market.

“Don’t abandon the old merchants. [City administrations] should reserve stalls at the new market for them, not just for new sellers coming in,” Tjahya said.

The government will focus on refurbishing traditional markets in the suburbs this year — mostly markets that are open at least twice a week and comprising at least 50 sellers in a 500-square meter area.

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It will also refurbish some weekly markets with at least 500 sellers in a 500-square meter area.

The government has already refurbished 2,715 traditional markets since 2015 till last year, out of an eventual target of 5,000 markets by 2019.

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