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Recently, the issue of mass layoffs (PHK) emerged in the manufacturing sector, especially in the textile and textile products (TPT) industry, which triggered pressure for the government to limit imports. University of Indonesia economist Fithra Faisal Hastiadi assessed that the restrictions on textile imports were not the answer to the problems of the national textile industry sector. He explained that the problem of Indonesian textiles is related to losing competitiveness. On the other hand, according to him, backward participation in the Indonesian market is very closed so that access to raw materials is hampered and has an impact on expensive input costs.

“As a result, we cannot compete, for example with Vietnam. They are open from the input market to their production market. So that's the road cost. Then try to overcome it with protection, in fact this will be a misfortune in return,” said Fithra (10/11/2022).

Fitra said that if the government closed imports of textile industry raw materials or closed textile products, both would have an unhealthy impact.

“Are we not afraid of the danger of retaliation from our trade partners and that will punish our industry even more. So the government must look at it not partially and more comprehensively," said the former spokesman for the Ministry of Trade.

Fitra said, the government provides incentives both from the downstream side, namely opening access to raw imports if there is a demand and incentives to reduce the burden on producers. According to him, it would be better if the subsidized industry is not only from the side of workers.

This, said Fitra, in order to maintain the existence of his own industry.

"Is there any money? There is. Yesterday there was a fuel price adjustment of Rp196 trillion that could be included from the supply side. Then in this wish competition, the best practice is that the industry is given. Not then focus on the workforce, if Rp. 3.5 million plus Rp. 600,000, that's okay. But what is more best practice and Europe is a stimulus to the industry to ensure that the workplace still exists,” said Fitra.

Regarding the issue of the wave of layoffs, Faisal doubts that there will be mass layoffs. According to him, this is not in accordance with existing data, namely that there has been a reduction in unemployment by 700,000 people.

"This may not be a wave [of layoffs] but using Bung Karno's term ripples in the middle of the ocean. Indeed, there is unemployment in the sector, but I don't think it is appropriate to call it a wave," said Fitra.

Previously, textile and textile product business players hoped that the government could open up space to work on the domestic market through import restrictions. This is because export demand has decreased and is predicted to continue until next year.

The decline in export demand was caused by the slowing world economic conditions, and even a recession is predicted next year. As a result of falling demand, domestic textile production weakened and resulted in layoffs.

General Chairperson of the Indonesian Textile Association (API) Jemmy Kartiwa Sastraatmaja hopes that the government can impose restrictions on TPT imports. This is necessary so that at least the textile industry in the country can survive and not massively lay off.

"We really hope that Indonesian textile producers can be given space to sell next year. That is if there is no invasion of imported products. In this country there are also challenges because world textile producers are also targeting the large Indonesian market. Thrifting is also a threat for us So, we really hope for import control," he said, Sunday (10/30/2022).