Tue, 15 Aug 2000

BPS gets new soft loan worth $12.9b from Japan

JAKARTA (JP): The Central Bureau of Statistics announced on Monday a new soft loan worth 1.4 billion yen (US$12.9 million) from the Japanese government to improve its computerized system of data collection.

BPS' head Soedarti Surbakti said the new loan provided by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation would be used to buy new computer equipment and finance computer training programs for the agency's employees nationwide.

A total of US$5 million of the loan will be used to buy computer equipment with the rest being used to finance the training program for the agency's employees.

She said 400 employees of the agency from 310 branch offices across the country would attend a training program at the agency's training center in Lenteng Agung, South Jakarta, which was opened on Monday. The said training program will last until Nov. 23.

They will be taught by computer experts from the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB).

"The aim of this training program is to improve our employees' skills in operating computers and high technology equipment," Soedarti told reporters after the ceremony to mark the opening of the training program.

She said the putting into effect of a computerized system would boost the accuracy and speed of BPS data collection and distribution.

She said publicly-listed information technology company Astra Graphia had won the contract to provide the BPS with computer software and hardware.

"We have to upgrade our computer hardware and software. Our computer software dates back to 1990," she said.

Astra Graphia said in a press release that it would provide the agency with high capacity servers, personal computer workstations, network design and implementation, printers, Local Area Network (LAN), Wide Area Network (WAN), Internet and Intranet.

"This is our second project with the BPS. We joined the same program in 1997," Astra Graphia's manager of communications Annie Widjaja said, adding the company obtained the project through competitive bidding.

JBIC's loan project officer Myra Lubis said that the Japanese agency started financing the BPS computer program in 1994 and had thus far provided a total of 3.027 billion yen in soft loans to the BPS, including this year's loan of 1.4 billion yen.

The loan carries interest of three to 3.5 percent and a repayment period of 30 years. (02)