President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Governor Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo officially opened the 46th Jakarta Fair at the Jakarta Fair Ground in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, on Monday.
Yudhoyono said that he hoped the Jakarta Fair would help the local economy through the global economic downturn. 'Our exports have been declining and this has happened in other countries as well, as the global economy has yet to recover. As the Jakarta Fair develops, I hope that it will boost the local economy,' Yudhoyono said in his speech.
Jokowi said that the Jakarta Fair played an important role as an event where local businesses could show off their products.
'People can also enjoy the various entertainment offered,' he said.
Prior to the opening ceremony, Jokowi visited Betawi traditional dish kerak telor ( pancake ) vendors along Jl. Benyamin Sueb near the venue and gave away free aprons to the vendors. He also made time to order kerak telor and chatted with Sobirin, a kerak telor vendor. Sobirin told Jokowi that he had sold kerak telor outside Jakarta Fair Ground area for 10 years and wished to be able to sell his kerak telor inside the arena.
Jokowi reiterated his commitment to accommodate more small and medium businesses like Sobirin during the annual event. 'The Jakarta Fair should accommodate small businesses like Sobirin,' he said.
According to Jakarta Fair organizer PT JIExpo president commissioner Murdaya Poo, of the 2,650 Jakarta Fair participants, 240 were kerak telor vendors.
'Up to 40 percent of Jakarta Fair participants are small and medium businesses,' Poo said. A number of them complained about high rent of spaces in the arena.
Tari, 34, a siomay ( dumpling ) seller, said the fair organizer did not accommodate the financial ability of small and medium businesses because it charged, not only a fee for the space, but also a fee for its strategic location.
'The rental costs, therefore, are too expensive. Aside from the Rp 11 million ( US$1,121.76 ) basic fee, I still have to pay an extra Rp 6 million to get a strategic place to sell my siomay,' Tari said.
Ari, 44, a kerak telor seller, said he had to pay Rp 20 million in order to rent a space close to a gate of the Kemayoran fairground in Central Jakarta. 'Initially, I didn't have the money, but I collected enough from my family,' Ari said.
He added that he rarely earned a 'big surplus' from selling kerak telor. 'Once I earned Rp 10 million, the biggest surplus since I started in the fair in 1993,' he said. ( ogi )