Promoting public health: Can fiscal policy play a role?
January-March 2015

That is something Indonesia has to see. Before we make a regulation, we should do research to find out what needs to be done, what is proper to do.

In America, according to the WHO bulletin, there is “very little evidence about the use of food taxes as a public health strategy.” This is according to the WHO. It also said, “Taxing food and beverages may reduce obesity” but this is in advanced countries. In developing countries it said, “Future research should estimate rice scarcity in low and middle-income countries and identify potential health benefits against the wider impact on jobs” and everything else.

And, of course, we cannot just implement American policies or policies from advanced countries. The most important thing, in my opinion, is how we educate consumers. Fiscal policy from our government is expected to do more in education.

But in our country, there are regulations from the Ministry of Health regarding limitations on sugar, salt and fat, and then other regulations. These regulations are released without clear evidence or survey data. So it creates confusion when it’s implemented. It is just not clear.

We would expect those with more experience in the government to push regulations based on proper surveys and proper data. Do not make a regulation first, then become confused when implementing it. In that case, it looks like those regulations were made without clear backing.

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