Indonesia’s textile industry is yet to be fully prepared to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical workers treating COVID-19 patients, according to Indonesian Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s deputy chairman for trade Benny Soetrisno, who recently said the domestic textile industry’s focus remains increasingly unwavering on apparel products, while the potential for non-apparel textile products is immense.

“For non-apparel textile products, it is still wide open. Up until now, amid the spread of COVID-19, we are still not prepared to respond to the (demand) of PPEs, as we do not have the main materials,” he said during a virtual discussion in Jakarta.

The lack of materials to produce PPE results in the need to import, for which Soetrisno sought the involvement of all relevant parties to boost the industry, as it can lead to job creation and contribute to the country’s foreign exchange, an Indonesian news agency reported.

To boost the sector, Soetrisno called to optimize the three pillars of funding, power, and manpower deemed crucial to boost the global competitiveness of the industry’s products.

The cost of power in the Indonesian industry is still considerably high from that of other southeast Asian countries, thereby making the retail price more expensive and hence reducing the products’ competitiveness in the global market.