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

‘Naughty manufacturers’

For instance, in America, diet guidelines are promoted, consumers are educated. For manufacturers, it is actually quite simple. If consumers are smart, and they keep choosing healthy foods, soon manufacturers won’t produce unhealthy food. But if the consumers are not smart and not well-educated, automatically there are so many opportunities for “naughty” manufacturers.

In Indonesia, supervision will be hard. For that reason, top-down regulation is difficult. For instance, the BPOM (National Food and Drug Agency) often arrests sellers of illegal products. But if one is arrested today, there are 10 the next day. Why? Because it is hard to supervise the market. Therefore, what is important for me is to educate.

And now, in the Ministry of Health, they are going to educate, issue balanced nutrition guidelines. I think we have to push this together so the consumers become smart about nutrition, to support public health. And we also expect that government can use fiscal policy to push this kind of education.

If the education succeeds and our consumers become smart, our budget for health can be reduced and maybe used for education. The consumers will be smarter and the naughty manufacturers will be naturally reduced. Thank you.

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