Ombudsman: Indications of Maladministration in Palm Oil Industry Governance

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Ombudsman Indications of Maladministration in Palm Oil Industry Governance. Photo by: Sawit Fest 2021 / Indah Kurniati

PALMOILMAGAZINE, JAKARTA – The Ombudsman of the Republic of Indonesia has identified potential indications of maladministration in the governance of the palm oil industry. One major issue is overlapping regulations that have hindered effective industrial management.

Yeka Hendra Fatika, a member of the Ombudsman, stated that the institution conducted field inspections with relevant stakeholders and evaluated the implementation of regulations within the palm oil industry.

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“We would do it with other related stakeholders. We would directly see how the regulations apply in the field and want to know how far the deviation would happen,” he said in a public discussion in the office of Ombudsman, Jakarta, as in the official statement to Palmoilmagazine.com, Tuesday (28/5/2024).

Also Read: Ombudsman of Indonesia Calls for Legal Certainty in Palm Oil Sector, Especially for Independent Smallholders

He also identified that some regulations caused issues in public service of the government for palm oil industries. One striking issue is the overlapping area permits. Palm oil plantations are always categorized in forest areas. “It needs to get solution immediately without damaging other parties. Would it be always happening?” he said. The institution also questioned the smallholders’ welfare because of the issue impacts.

In association with the overlapping areas, forest areas, and permits, Ombudsman found the impacts of area regime and the implementation of Undang-Undang Cipta Kerja (UUCK) that confused the smallholders and stakeholders. This covered the point, limit, map, and area decision.

The institution mapped some main issue in palm oil industrial governance. The first, it relates to area and permit, location permit of palm oil plantations that are always hit by overlapping areas (forest, business permit, and indigenous areas). The second, it relates to governance. Palm oil products are always hit by domestic market obligation to fulfill crude palm oil (CPO) needs.

Besides, the partnership between the smallholders and industries to process palm oil products hit the issues. In the price, Ombudsman found that the price does not deliver enough profits for the smallholders and the people, and even the traders. About technology, the target to escalate plantation productivity per hectare is not realized still.

In 2018-2024, Ombudsman got, at least, 239 complaints from the people about palm oil. Three highest substances were about agrarian (land and spatial) that reached about 69 complaints; plantation, agriculture, and food reached 36 complaints; and law enforcement reached 24 complaints.

This year, the institution would have systemic review about how to prevent maladministration in palm oil industrial governance. “Preventing maladministration is actually the softest way to improve public services because it would be suggestions only. But we could force for urgent issues, for instance, to revoke a regulation. That is why Ombudsman would deliver corrective ways and recommendation that bond,” Yeka said. (T2)

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