Fri, 05 Aug 1994

Funds for poverty alleviation cut and misused

JAKARTA (JP): Many local administration officials have misused and deducted the funds allocated for the alleviation of poverty in villages even though they have received supervision fees, an official of the National Development Planning Board (Bappenas) said.

The head of Bappenas's bureau for regency and village development, Gunawan Sumodiningrat, told The Jakarta Post and Kompas yesterday that the deduction of poverty alleviation funds, allocated under the Presidential Aid Program (IDT), was done by district and village administrators.

"The deduction of the IDT funds range from 10 to 15 percent," he said.

Under the IDT program, villages, where the poor make up the majority of population, receive a fund of Rp 20 million (US$9,220.84) for poverty alleviation projects.

"According to reports from our field monitoring, the deduction happened in several places in Palembang, South Sumatra and in Pandeglang, West Java," Gunawan said.

He said local administration officials were not supposed to take any money from the IDT funds because the government allocated supervision funds to the officials from the provincial to village level.

He said for an official at the provincial level, the government provided Rp 20,000 per village, at the regency level Rp 100,000 per village, at the district level Rp 500,000 per village and at the village level Rp 600,000.


Gunawan said the Rp 20 million aid can not be allocated to construct infrastructure facilities as happened in some places. Funds for infrastructure construction will be allocated under different programs, not under the IDT program.

Gunawan said there is also misunderstanding about the IDT program among officials in several places.

There are people who assume that the IDT funds are extra money given by the government to them and they can spend it without having to report on spending, he said.

Gunawan said the IDT program is a modification of previous development programs that the government has introduced in the past.

The problem is that only three months after President Soeharto introduced it to his cabinet in December 1993 it was implemented, leaving no time for adjustment.

The IDT program was launched on April 1 this year at the beginning of the second long-term development plan.

It is part of the government's effort to lift the standard of living for the 27 million Indonesians who still live below the poverty line. A total of 20,633 villages have qualified for the funds.

Gunawan said the government has projected that the program would reduce poverty in the country significantly. "But the target of poverty reduction can not be specifically determined because the definition of poverty is conditional," Gunawan said, adding that the criterion for poverty might change with time and place. (02)