Wed, 09 Mar 2005

'We have to start cutting back on things'

Shortly after the government announced fuel prices were going up beginning March 1, the prices of basic commodities and transportation costs began rising. This proved to be a double whammy for residents already trying to cope financially with the fuel price hike. The Jakarta Post asked residents for their opinion on the matter.

Joice Adelina, 24, is an accountant at an export company on Jl. Guntur in South Jakarta. She lives with her family in Tebet, South Jakarta:

I have already felt the blow of the latest fuel price increases, especially in my transportation expenses.

Although most bus crews haven't raised fares yet, I have to dig deeper into my pocket because I can't stand not to give them more.

I don't know how they could afford the skyrocketing prices of basic commodities if passengers continued to pay the old fares.

Almost every day my family complains about how much more expensive everything is, such as when we dine out together.

At my office everyone is grumbling about having to cut back on things to save money, especially those who are married.

Some of the people in the office have started to bring in their lunches to save money.

We all know that we have to cut back on things because we cannot expect a raise.

Sumardi, 50, is a taxi driver who owns his cab. He lives with his wife in Cikini, Central Jakarta:

It's better for the government to subsidize programs for the poor instead of keeping fuel prices artificially low, which just leads to smuggling.

This way, at least in theory, those who need assistance will receive it.

Lots of people in my neighborhood need all the help they can get. Whether or not the subsidies will reach them is another question. But let's give the government the benefit of the doubt.

Luckily, my family has not had to depend on any form of government assistance. I once tried the rice that the government hands out to the poor, but I gave it back when I realized that it was of poor quality. Let the government raise prices. As long as the economy and security keep improving, it's fine with me.

--The Jakarta Post