Mon, 07 Mar 2005

'The assistance funds will miss their target'

The government has cut fuel subsidies, but raised subsidies for other things including health and education for the country's poorest families. The Jakarta Post asked for comments from residents about the low-income assistance fund.

Diniarti, 23, a graduate student of management at Trisakti University, West Jakarta. She lives in Kampung Baru, South Jakarta:

I don't think the fund will all go to the targeted people.

The main reason is corruption. Everyone in the government handling this program wants to get their hands on that money.

The system to implement the program is a complex bureaucracy.

Another thing is poor administrative and record systems. I think there should be an independent body that handles the distribution of assistance.

The government should work with organizations that have less bureaucracy to prevent embezzlement of the fund.

Badrun, 31, a shop keeper working at Blok M commercial district, South Jakarta. He lives with his wife and two children in Tangerang. His monthly salary is only Rp 800,000 (US$83.33):

Well, I hope the government will fulfill its promises about the low-income assistance fund to offset fuel price increases. And I hope it will be immediately delivered to poor people most affected by the price hikes.

The government must learn from the implementation of a similar program in the past that did not take go very well.

What I learned from my neighborhood is that not all poor families received assistance -- inexpensive rice for example.

Sometimes, the money did not reach the right targets. Some of my neighbors told me that they did not receive rice and complained that those who were better off did receive it.

--The Jakarta Post