Thu, 10 Mar 2005

'Watch where the money is going'

The government had promised to allocate an extra Rp 10.5 trillion (US$1.13 billion), which will be saved from fuel subsidy cuts, to finance programs targeted at the poor, such as the provision of subsidized rice, subsidized education, rural infrastructure projects and health programs. The Jakarta Post asked some Jakartans their opinions on the issue.

Manto, 48, is an airport shuttle driver, who works for a hotel in Central Jakarta. He lives with his wife in Depok:

The programs that the government has proposed after the fuel subsidy cuts look promising.

Better health care and free education sound good to me. I don't understand what the protests are all about, they won't change anything. The student protesters should focus on making sure that the subsidies get to their target.

With the fuel price raise it means that everyone has to sacrifice, including myself.

My normal daily income of Rp 50,000 has fallen to Rp 40,000, but I can still manage. It just means that I have to spend less time going out to bars.

Safitri, 24, is an account officer with a private bank in Jakarta. She lives in Cipinang, East Jakarta:

The low-income assistance fund allocation will only affect the some of the people who really need it.

To make sure it covers all intended beneficiaries, we need a more transparent government.

I see that Indonesian people are of low quality. The country has a lot of natural resources, such as oil, but we can't even make good oil and gas refineries. We export gas and oil to be refined abroad, and we import it back. That costs a lot.

If only the government could improve the quality of its human resources, we might be able to solve this problem.

The auditors, who are supposed to ensure the allocation of the money for the needy, do not have certain standards to adhere to, such as banks do, for example. They are unlikely to have a transparent system, and so the public will question where the money is going.

I believe that corrupt officials exchanged the good quality rice provided by the government in previous cheap rice schemes, with poor quality rice.

--The Jakarta Post