Industry Minister Fahmi Idris said a plan to impose a custom duty on cement was inappropriate, arguing it was against the existing legislation.
"It is not correct to impose a custom duty on cement as this commodity is not dangerous to human life," the minister said here on Tuesday in response to the Finance Ministry’s plan to impose a custom duty on cement.
He said that based on existing legislation, goods that were subject to custom duties were those considered to contain substances which have the potential of endangering human life. Custom duties were imposed as an effort to protect people.
He said cement did not belong to these types of commodity because it would not threaten people’s life if they used it.
In reply to a question wether a custom duty needed to be imposed on cement because it threatened the environment, the minister said that the environment was threatened when cement was produced, not when it was used.
He cited the use of cement for building construction as an example. "Cement will not pollute the environment when it is used to construct a building," he added.
The minister said that if it was the cement factory which posed a problem to the environment, it was the factory which had to apply an environmental pollution protection device.
"So, it is not in the form of a custom duty," he added.
As a follow up to his attitide to disagreeing with the imposistion of custom duty on cement, Fahmi has written to Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati.
"I hope it would become a vocal point in the compilation of a bill on custom duties later on," Fahmi added.