Tue, 15 Jan 2002

Budget approval late, salary late

City councillors complained on Monday that their monthly salaries had not yet been paid due to the late approval of the 2002 City Budget.

The Budget, which should have been approved by the end of last year, can not be approved until the end of this month for technical reasons.

The salaries of Rp 7.1 million (US$682) for each councillor were supposed to have been paid or transferred on Jan. 2.

"For rich councillors, the salary means nothing. But for me it's important," councillor Azis Boeang of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle said.

But many councillors agreed with Syamsidar of the National Mandate Party, who said, "It's okay. We are late, but we hope the council's employees won't be."

Syamsidar admitted that her salary would be increased in January by 15 percent to about Rp 8 million.

Their acceptance of the delayed payments was attributed to the fact that the councillors have received numerous allowances and other "additional incomes", reportedly amounting to Rp 65 million a month.

The budget will allocate Rp 11 billion for the councillors' travel allowance, Rp 6 billion for a health allowance, a special allowance of Rp 55 billion and a wardrobe allowance of Rp 917 million.

Due to public criticism, the council earlier wanted to drop its proposal for health insurance coverage, which was included in the allocation of Rp 6 billion for the health allowance.

City Spokesman Muhayat said the councillors' salaries should not be paid late, even though the budget had yet to be approved, because it was included in routine expenditure.

"The problem probably lies with the council secretariat," Muhayat told The Jakarta Post.

But he said that if the salary was not included in routine expenditure, the councillors should not be angry that their salaries would be paid only after the budget's approval on Jan. 31.

The council's secretariat could not be reached for comment on Monday.