Monday, 09 June, 2008 | 15:28 WIB
TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: Indonesia is facing the threat of a potable water network backlog for up to nine million people in 2009.
Budi Yuwono, Director General of Housing, Building, Planning and Urban Development at the Public Works Department, said that regional governments needed to participate more in constructing potable water networks.
“Networks for households should be under regional government, not the central government,” he said on Friday (6/6).
Because of this, the central government has limited clean water and sanitation facility budgets while optimizing these for poor areas.
Another reason, Budi continued, was the low tariffs set by regional governments even though the Home Affairs Minister has stated that tariffs should be higher than production costs.
On the other hand, potable water tariffs cannot be raised regularly like toll road tariffs.
Budi said that in early January, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono instructed a target for potable installments to reach 50 percent in 2009.
Vice President Jusuf Kalla then asked that this be raised to 10 million networks by 2011.
Budi also said that out of the 206 potable water utilities (PDAM) in regional areas, five have debts of more than Rp100 billion.
Writing off these debts will certainly mean that the banking community would be prepared to support PDAMs in increasing their potable networks.
“Banks will support us if we have good prospectuses,” said Budi.
At the moment, only Bank Tabungan Negara is providing small-scale credit to one PDAM in Surabaya.
Earlier, the government agreed to write off loan PDAM debts amounting to Rp3 billion.
However, Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto has set four conditions for the debt write-offs.
These include: normal tariffs; no contributions to regional governments until networks covers 80 percent of service areas; reducing fund leakages; and evaluations by board members through proper tests.