Tue, 24 Jun 2003

City spends Rp 5.75b on Jakarta anniversary

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The city administration had allocated Rp 5.75 billion for the series of events held to commemorate Jakarta's 476th anniversary, which ended on Sunday.

City Hall spokesman Ahyat M. Awe said on Monday that more than Rp 4.3 billion of the fund was contributed by businessmen, while another Rp 1.4 billion was taken from the 2003 city budget.

"More money was needed to celebrate this year's anniversary because the events were of a higher quality," he told The Jakarta Post.

Ahyat said the businessmen contributed not only by giving money, but also by providing goods and advertisements.

He said the Rp 1.4 billion from the city budget was distributed to all city agencies; for example, the City Sports Agency used the fund to organize the 10-kilometer marathon.

He underlined that the fund taken from the city budget would be audited by the City Audit Agency (Bawasda), while the public contributions would be audited by an independent auditor.

A number of councillors had criticized the city administration for spending too much money on the anniversary celebrations, saying that the money could have been allocated toward more urgent needs, such as efforts to alleviate poverty.

The peak of the celebration took place on Saturday night -- the eve of the anniversary -- when Governor Sutiyoso joined the celebration at the Jakarta Fair Ground in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, and at Ancol Dreamland, North Jakarta.

The governor, however, failed to visit several places of worship as scheduled earlier in the day, because he had a stomachache. A number of city officials, who had waited for him for about an hour, later made the visits without him.

Wedding ceremonies being held at the Imanuel Protestant church and the Cathedral Catholic church were interrupted for about 15 minutes due to the officials' visit.