18 January 2009

Indonesian Army To Stop Illegal Fuel Exports To East Timor

KUPANG, Nusa Tenggara Timor, Jan 15 Asia Pulse - The security forces in the border area shared by Indonesian East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) and Timor Leste should prevent illegal fuel oil exports from Indonesia to Timor Leste following cuts in premium gasoline and diesel oil prices.

"Opportunities for illegal fuel oil exports to Timor Leste are wide open, because the price of the commodity in the neighboring country is quite high," an observer on Timor Leste affairs, Florencio Mario Vieira said on Wednesday.

The price of premium gasoline in Timor Lester at present stood at US$0.90, equivalent to Rp9,900, a liter, while the price of diesel oil amounted to US$0.75, or Rp 8,250, per liter.

According to Mario, the unstable economic situation in Timor Leste may provide an opportunity to smuggle fuel oil from West Timor to Timor Leste by capitalizing on lower fuel oil prices in Indonesia.

"Those of the military, police or bureaucracy capitalizing on this situation in collaboration with naughty businessmen in the smuggling of fuel oil to Timor Leste should be arrested and brought to justice," he pointed out.

Meanwhile Antara observed at several gas stations in Indonesia's West Timor that many vehicles with Timor Leste number license plates were free to buy fuel at the gasoline stations there.

One day after the government announced a cut in the price of premium gasoline by Rp4500 from Rp5000 as of January 15, more and more cars from Timor Leste had their tanks filled at the gas stations in Indonesia.

Mario said that a presidential instruction would be needed on foreign cars having their tanks filled at gas stations in Indonesian territory.

Foreign cars having their tanks filled in Indonesia had to pay international prices, because subsidized fuel oil in Indonesia was only meant for Indonesian motorists because they were taxpayers.

"It is therefore strange if foreigners also enjoy the Indonesian subsidized fuel," he said. (ANTARA)

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