President to Raise Status of BNN Head to Ministerial Level

Head of the  National Narcotics Agency (BNN) Budi Waseso
Head of the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) Budi Waseso

Jakarta, 03 Jumadil Akhir 1437/12 March 2016 (MINA) – President Joko Widodo has committed to raise the status of National Narcotics Agency (BNN) head to a ministerial level due to the urgency of the battle against the drug trade.

This was confirmed by Coordinating Minister for Politics, Legal and Security Affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) reported, quoting Antara News.

“The president has determined to improve the status of the organization of BNN. The drug problem is so huge. The BNN should deal with it,” the minister said here on Thursday.

With regard to the status changes, he noted, the president will swear in National Narcotics Agency (BNN) Head Budi Waseso as a minister.

Panjaitan added that the BNN should be reformed to ensure motivate the agency in combating the drug trade.

“The battle against the drug trade should be supported with adequate facilities,” the minister remarked.

Further, National Narcotics Agency (BNN) head Budi Waseso explained the challenges faced by the agency in the fight against drug trafficking.

“BNN has heavy responsibilities. The population of Indonesia has reached 250 million, of which 125 million are of child-bearing ages and must be protected from drugs. All personnel at BNN include about 4,400,” Waseso said.

Waseso added that the absence of an official office of BNN has slowed the speed of the officers in exposing the narcotics network.

Waseso stated that the BNN head office in Jakarta is a lending office that can not house all employees of BNN.

In addition, some prisoners must be held at another detention center, due to inadequate jails.

“Our equipment and budgets are also limited,” he said.

Earlier, President Joko Widodo called for intense efforts to fight the distribution of narcotics, in view of the growing seriousness of the problem.

In a meeting with the chief officials of offices concerned with drug problems, the President said narcotics trafficking topped the list of problems being faced by Indonesia.

In view of this, efforts must be made to fight drugs, with all involved departments improving their coordination.

Every concerned institution must set aside their own agendas in tackling the drug problem, and they must work together to fight this menace, the president said at the meeting.

The fight against drugs involves the National Anti-Narcotic Agency (BNN), National Police, Justice and Human Rights Ministry, Customs and Excise Directorate General, Education and Culture Ministry, Health Ministry and Social Affairs Ministry, among others.

Meanwhile, President Jokowi, as he is also called, estimated that about half of all illegal drugs in Indonesia are circulated within correctional institutions.

In view of that, he called on all officials in charge to tighten controls at penitentiaries across the country, “particularly prisons, which host narcotics convicts. With the help of a military backup, they should be checked through impromptu inspections once or twice a month by the National Narcotics Agency (BNN),” he noted.

The President added, “Rehabilitation of addicts and narcotics victims should also be run effectively” with regards to eliminating the availability of illegal drugs. (R07/R01)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)