Tag Archives: economic marginalisation

Women traders losing out in Papua

Tabloid JUBI
 
August 6, 2013
 
Jayapura: Papuan indigenous traders are very worried about the fact that they are not able to compete economically because of the arrival in Papua of immigrants  who are ‘taking over’ the trade in many simple commodities which has for a long time been where Papuan women  (mama-mama) are conducting their business activities.

‘If nothing is done about this, we can be sure that within the next ten years, the mama-mama will not be able to compete in the markets. Many shopping malls, shops, agricultural product businesses, self-service shops and hypermarkets  will be selling these commodities, with the help of lorries  which are transporting the commodities  everywhere, even along alleyways,’ said Robert Jitman, an activist in SOLPAP (Indigenous Papuan Traders Solidarity).

He said that he was seeking the help of the MRP (Majelis Rakyat Papua) to play a more active role with regard to building markets for the mama-mama to ensure that they can carry out their business activities.  He also said that he was seeking support from the MRP with regard to what happened to some mama-mama who were recently evicted from Jalan Irian.

Robert Jitman  stressed the importance of these markets in ensuring a self-supporting economy and said it is necessary for the government to take action as quickly as possible. He said that he wrote last month to the Governor of Papua, Lukas Enembe, to seek information about the fact that a permanent market  where the mama-mama can trade has not yet been built in one of the main roads in Papua, Jalan Percetakan Negara.

SOLPAP is also seeking an audit from the BPK (?) with regard to the allocation of funds for building the market for the mama-mama, which was allocated as long ago as 2009. He was also seeking to ensure the inclusion in SOLPAP of church leaders, NGOs, students and the press (Alliance of Independent Journalists).

The letter to Governor Enembe also suggested that there should be a special regional regulation (perdasus)  to protect and assist the mama-mama in conducting their trade in certain commodities and also suggested that a team be set up to ensure that the special market for the mama-mama is built.

[Translated by TAPOL}

 

Papuan mama-mama should attend the Papua Expo in Jakarta

JUBI,
2 March 2013
The director of the Ecology Papua Instutute, Titus Christoforus announced that a Papuan exhibition will be held at the Convention Centre in Jakarta from 3 April. He said that it should give priority to ensuring the attendance of Papuan mama-mama who use the noken (traditional string bag).He said: ‘I hope that the Papuan Provincial Government will give priority to the mama-mama and their noken at this exhibition.’

He went on to say that the exhibition would involve the Regional Work Units and Event Organisers from Jakarta. This means that in the weeks before the exhibition, special attention should be given to the involvement of the mama-mama.

He also said that this OTSUS exhibition should pay special attention  to the workmanship of people like the mama-mama who lack capital but are very eager to produce their handicrafts. He pointed out that the noken was identified by UNESCO.as a cultural object at a meeting in Paris on 4 December 2012. ‘This makes it all the more important that the mama-mama together with their noken should be involved in the exhibition,’ he said.

Such handiwork depends greatly on how we encourage it, which means that the mama-mama should be involved in the exhibition in Jakarta, he said.

He also said that the noken has become much better known and popular, and it should be presented to the public as a symbol of the identity of the Papuan people.

In conclusion he said: ‘I hope that this exhibition will provide the mama-mama with the maximum motivation and that they should be provided with the necessary facilities for the advancement of their craft.’

[Slightly abridged translation by TAPOL]

Papuan women angry about failure to provide them with permanent market

Tabloid JUBI
6 December 2012
Jayapura: The Rev Dora Baluban, co-ordinator of Solpap, Solidarity of Indigenous Papuan traders,  said that their organisation is being treated like a ping pong ball by the provincial administration because of their failure for so many years to provide women traders – mama-mama – with a permanent market-place.’We have made so many attempts to get a permanent market place  for indigenous Papuan women  but as yet, nothing has happened,’ she told journalists.Solpap has been trying to get a permanent market place for the women traders since 2004 but after six years, nothing has happened. Back in 2009, the government promised that they would make available land used by Perum Damri (Indonesian Government national transport company ) but to this day, nothing has happened. ‘ It is apparent that Damri is not willing to vacant the land.

She said that they have had so many promises by the government  but to no avail. She said that  the government is treating Solpap like a ping pong ball,  hitting us here, there and everywhere.

The government also promised    to provide Rp 10 billion to build the market place but this has not yet happened either. One of the traders, Yuliana Pigai, said the government has made so many promises but has failed to do anything.

‘This is our right and the government should keep its promises,’ she said.

[Translated by TAPOL]

New supermarket in Jayapura triggers complaints about goods on offer and price differentials

Bintang Papua, 9 and 10 July 2012

[Comment: This report reveals the continuing tendency to promote businesses from outside Papua while failing to advance the interests of local Papuan producers. TAPOL]

Many complaints about price differentials at newly open supermarket in Jayapura

Although the supermarket  Hypermart Jayapura has only recently open its doors to the general public, many people who have purchased goods have complained that there has been a huge differential  between the prices marked on the shelves and the prices of the goods when they reach the cashier to pay for their purchases. As a result people who have been shopping at the new store are being advised to take care about their purchases to avoid losing a lot of money.

One shopper who spoke to Bintang Papua said  that she was charged at the cashier for something costing Rp 91,000 although she hadn’t even purchased the product. Other shoppers made similar complaints. In once instance, the shopper was charged  Rp. 105,000 for cooking  oil while the oil normally costs only Rp. 29,000. Other shoppers complained of striking differences in the prices they were charged.

In most cases, the shoppers were able to get refunds from the store after complaining. A store manager said that they would give refunds to anyone complaining about price differentials.

In a subsequent article, Bintang Papua reported that demands were being made by many people for the supermarket’s licence to trade to be revoked, because the terms of the licence which had been agreed in Jakarta with the business had been violated.

Some people complained that many of the vegetables and fruit that were offered for sale had been imported from outside West Papua or even from abroad. Indigenous Papuans who were able to produce these products in large quantities had not been able to compete with the many products on offer at the store. Another complaint was that the store was selling alcohol

The Indonesian Consumers Association said that there was no need for foodstuffs to be imported from outside Papua or from abroad because they were readily available in the Land of Papua and would enable local producers to compete in the local market. Taking supplies from local producers would also help to improve the level of welfare of the Papuan people

[Abridged in translation by TAPOL]

More capital assistance for Papuan women, officials promise

Financial help to Papuan businesswomen seriously lacking

The press in Papua has recently reported extensively on the allocation
of OTSUS funds to assist Papuans in their business operations, in
particular Papuan women referred to as ‘mama-mama’

On 11 June 2011, the JUBI tabloid newspaper reported that most of the
allocation of OTSUS funds is concentrated on public infrastructure and
government assets but insufficient attention is being paid to local
Papuan traders, including ‘mama-mama.’ The problem was raised in
particular by the head of the Oadate Major Clan, in the district of
Yapen-Waropen, Yulinus Kowela.

He said that OTSUS funds were being allocated almost entirely to
government officials, the government elite, as he called them.
‘Meanwhile, local Papuan traders and indigenous Papuan women continue to
be impoverished and on the margins, because of the nature of the
development according to OTSUS,’ said Yulinus.

‘For many years, we have been saying that OTSUS funds should be used to
combat poverty and improve the living conditions of indigenous Papuans.
But up to the present day, this hasn’t happened, people are asking about
this, including people living in the interior.’

He said that the allocaton of OTSUS funds should take account of the
fate of indigenous Papuan traders and not just focus on building
infrastructure such as road-building and building bridges in all the
districts. ‘The allocation of OTSIS money should be fairer and be used
to improve the conditions of women traders. They need help to be able to
obtain better facilities for their business activities,’ he said.

On 22 June, JUBI reported that the district chief of Merauke, Romanus
Mbaraka spoke of the need to pay attention to the little people and pay
greater attention to their need for capital. He said that the government
was planning to provide capital to groups of businesses, amounting to Rp
500,000 for each group.

At a ceremony in Gedung Negara, he symbolically handed over the money to
one group of traders. He said that the money was being allocated to
groups of businesses because past experience had shown that this was
better than allocating it to individuals. ‘In this way,’ he said, ‘the
monitoring process can be more easily managed.’

He said that the money was not being allocated for free but the groups
would be expected to repay the money but in this way, the groups would
have greater motivation to run their businesses well.’

‘If a business is successful, its earnings will increase, which means
that the government will be willing to help them again. He also said
that teams will be set up to monitor the businesses run by the women
such as those selling crabs or vegetables. This would motivate the
mama-mama to run their businesses well,’ he said.

[COMMENT: It remains to be seen whether this grand promise will bear
fruit in terms of promoting the economic interests of indigenous Papuans
in their never-ending difficulties to compete with the business acumen
of the thousands of Indonesians who flood into Papua and set up
businesses. TAPOL]