When Indonesia slashed quotas on beef imports in 2011, the goal was to boost domestic production. But the ensuing shortage has pushed prices skyward, and fed a corrupt system where quotas go to the highest bidder. Several unscrupulous meatball producers were even caught secretly mixing pork with beef to keep costs low. An ongoing investigation by the anti-corruption commission (KPK) has toppled the president of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), who resigned after being accused of receiving kickbacks from executives of a major meat importer, Indoguna.
Industry players said that endemic graft worsened after the government slashed import quotas in 2011 from 100,000 tones a year in 2011 to 40,000 tones last year and 32,000 tones this year. Some beef importers began bribing officials to get a share of the pie, and smuggled beef into the country. Indonesian Meat Importers Association executive director Thomas Sembiring told The Straits Times that so long as meat import quotas are imposed and enforcement is "not transparent", graft will remain a problem. "Bribery, corruption — it's already in their bone marrow. You have to cut down maybe two generations to get rid [of it]." The big problem, said Franky Sibarani, deputy secretary-general of the Indonesian employers association Apindo, is that there are no good numbers on demand and supply "and therefore, lack of enforcement of the quota."