Fri, 23 Jun 2000

Bulog puts nonbudgetary funds onto balance sheet

JAKARTA (JP): The State Logistics Agency (Bulog) has shifted its controversial Rp 383 billion (US$45 million) nonbudgetary funds onto the agency's balance sheet, the agency's chairman Rizal Ramli said here on Thursday.

Speaking at a hearing with House Commission III for Agriculture and Plantations, Rizal said that all the nonbudgetary funds had been put on the balance sheet to avoid further misappropriations.

"To be administratively correct, all the revenues Bulog receives, starting from June 2, have been recorded on the balance sheet," Rizal told a hearing at the House.

He said that recording the controversial funds on the Bulog balance sheet was necessary for the sake of greater transparency and proper accountability.

The agency, which was established in early 1970s to stabilize prices of basic commodities, has accumulated massive reserve funds. However, most of the money was allegedly used to finance businesses of former president Soeharto's children and close friends. The controversy over the nonbudgetary funds, which are not part of the state budget, has emerged again after President Abdurrahman Wahid's masseur managed to get Rp 35 billion cash from the agency.

Rizal said Bulog would need Rp 6 trillion in commercial loans for year 2001 for the procurement of about two million tons of rice to fill the supply shortage.

"Year 2001 is the first year of a five-year cyclical long dry season, and we should be prepared to import more rice because local rice production will be lower than normal," he said.

He said that the government should also anticipate and lower the import duty on rice to induce higher inflow of imported rice into the country during the year.

Rizal said the international loans, which are still available for the Indonesian government to finance rice imports, included the US$90 million credit line from the Islamic Development Bank and about $200 million from the Malaysian government.

With the IDB, the loans would have a term of three years including a grace period of six months. And the interest rates would be between 1.15 percent and 1.65 percent above the London Inter-bank Offered Rate (LIBOR) per annum, Rizal said.

The Malaysian government also offered a three-year loan, but with a one year grace period. The level of the interest rate is still under negotiation, he added. (udi)