Sat, 25 Mar 2000

Council OKs 2000 fiscal year budget

JAKARTA (JP): The City Council agreed on Friday to pass a 2000 City Budget of more than Rp 3.389 trillion (US$ 451.86 million), which will consist of Rp 2.362 trillion for routine spending and Rp 1.026 trillion for development spending.

The endorsed budget is higher than the city administration- proposed budget of Rp 3.29 trillion. It's lower than the 1999/2000 City Budget, but is proportionately higher since the new budget will only cover a nine-month period, compared to the 12 months of the previous one.

The budget also contains a new feature, the city's reserve fund of Rp 400 billion.

Employee expenditures, for example, will be raised from Rp 862 billion to Rp 863 billion. The previous budget allocated more than Rp 952 billion for the post.

Maintenance spending, however, will be lowered from Rp 470 billion to Rp 463 billion. The spending was allocated at around Rp 360 billion in the previous budget.

Education and culture sectors will receive Rp 133 billion from the proposed Rp 121 billion, while last year it received Rp 106 billion.

There has been nothing allocated to the mining and energy sectors.

The transportation sector will also receive a substantial increase, from Rp 111 billion to Rp 130 billion. It received Rp 106 billion last year.

Although they agreed to pass the budget, all factions of the council expressed their dissatisfaction with it at the plenary meeting that officially passed the budget on Friday.

Councillor Abdul Aziz Matnur of the Justice Party (PK) said that the city administration should provide better service to residents who have contributed 34 percent to the budget in taxes.

"The city administration can consider the revocation of personal retributions -- such as birth certificates and identity cards -- as signs of service improvement," he said.

Councillor Nazamuddin of the National Mandate Party (PAN) suggested that the city administration avoid duplicating its construction and maintenance projects.

"How could the City Forestry Agency and the City Park Agency propose tree planting projects at the same place in Situ Babakan, South Jakarta?" he asked.

Councillor Posman Siahaan of the Justice and Unity Party (PKP) noted that the City Civil Defense Headquarters was unaware of the fact that it had been allocated a certain amount of money from the budget.

"How could the agency be unaware of the fact that it has been allocated funds from the budget?" he asked, encouraging the city administration to prevent such a thing from happening again in the future.

He also suggested the city administration should legalize gambling to bring in more revenue.

"It will provide income for the city administration by imposing high gambling taxes on gambling operators. The funds can then be used for other projects," he said.

Councillor M. Saman Husni of the Crescent Star Party (PBB) faction gave another solution to increase the city revenue, by intensified and extensified taxes and retributions collection.

"There are a lot of residents who don't pay their taxes and retributions. City officials have to catch and penalize these people" he said at the plenary meeting.

Councillors also urged the city administration to increase the proportion of development spending and not routine spending.

"Routine spending only benefits city employees while development spending will give direct benefits to residents," said Zayadi Musa of the United Development Party (PPP) faction. (09/nvn)