Not Correct to Merge Fisheries and Agriculture Ministry

President-elect Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's plan to merge the maritime affairs and fisheries ministry and the agriculture ministry into a food sovereignty ministry is contrary to his vision to develop marine resources, an executive said.

"The plan to combine the two ministries runs counter to the vision and mission of Jokowi, who will give priority to the development of marine resources," Secretary General of the People's Coalition for Fisheries Justice (KIARA) Abdul Halim said, in a press statement released Saturday.

Under law number 39 of 2008 on state ministry, the maritime affairs and fisheries ministry is a government affairs ministry whose scope had been set in the 1945 Constitution, Abdul said.

Any effort to form or change a ministry must consider eight aspects, including efficiency and effectiveness, scope of tasks and proportional burden of tasks, continuity, harmony, global environmental development and the need to handle certain government affairs on a self-reliant basis, he said.

"Therefore, the President cannot dissolve the maritime affairs and fisheries ministry without a seal of approval from the House of Representatives (DPR)," Abdul noted.

The President could turn the planned food sovereignty ministry into a coordinating ministry to coordinate government tasks in the food sector, he added.

The merger of ministries could also be done by considering not only budget efficiencies, but also the extent to which the new ministry would manage the potential and coordination with national leaders.

"For instance, in Norway, which has the fourth greatest fishery potentials in the world and large sales of fish, fishery affairs are incorporated into the ministry of trade, industry and fisheries. Through this ministry, national leaders can focus their tasks and have no difficulties in coordinating with one another," Abdul said.

If Jokowi insisted on merging the two ministries into a food sovereignty ministry, this would be worse than the New Order regime, he warned. The challenges in the fishery and maritime sector were limited, not only to production but also distribution at a national level. (antara)

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