Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Coordination razzle-dazle: oil

Pick any national newspaper these days. They all talk about the happening oil crisis in Indonesia -- once known as an oil exporter. We knew it's coming and we would have suggested higher price to help anticipate that. But that's aside for now (calm down!).

What really bothers me from all the news is the mess in coordination. The state-owned oil company, Pertamina blames it on the government, and the government via the Ministry of Finance fires back to Pertamina. In the meantime, the state-owned energy company, PLN blames the government for not backing them up when they are short to pay the supply from Pertamina. Pertamina refuses to supply since it is not "appropriately subsidized" by the government. The Minister of State-Owned Enterprises seem confused. And there comes Pertamina-Exxon dispute. Cepu is supposed to produce one tenth of the national oil output. That's a lot, especially in these tough days. But the government seems lame in solving the dispute.

What in the world is going on? Do we not have that function we usually call "coordinating" minister? If the government really can't manage itself, isn't it a justification for more privatization? (Oh by the way, I was told, the coord-min wants privatization; it's only that, some ministers are strongly against it).

And, to add to my frustation: Speaking about oil, this is a piece (in Bahasa) by an adventurous politician sometimes calling himself an economist (I was a big fan of his writings -- not anymore after his pieces like this and this) and now trying to wash his dirty hands, using angelical words. I'm disgusted.

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