Sat, 08 Apr 2000

Goods, service consumption slides

JAKARTA (JP): The Jakarta office of the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) hinted on Friday that city residents were facing serious threats of malnutrition and poor health if the economic crisis continues.

"The economic crisis has seriously affected people's purchasing power and has lowered their consumption of goods and services," the head of the population division at the city office of the bureau, Rusmandesiar, told The Jakarta Post.

He said people's consumption of goods and services was the key indicator used by his office to determine the Human Development Index (IPM).

"The current IPM score is seven percent lower than the figure in 1996," he said, while citing that the present index is 69.1, while in 1996 it was 76.1.

Rusmandesiar, who based his statement on the board's National Social and Economic Survey (Susenas), which was conducted in February last year, said that although the IPM score was still far from the possible score of 100, Jakarta topped the list among the country's 26 provinces.

Lifespan, literacy and their school duration rate were the other IPM indicators used, he said.

Based on the standard set by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the indicators for lifespan are set at 25 years old as the minimum rate and 85 years old as the maximum; literacy scores are between 0 to 100; school duration rate is between 0 to 15 years and the consumption rate is between Rp 900,000 to Rp 1.33 million a year.

"Excluding the consumption rate, other IPM indicators have increased.

"Perhaps it was because of the government-sponsored social safety net program (JPS)," he said.

The Susenas has been conducted every three years, with the latest survey questioning a random 6,080 families from the 2.5 million families of the 9.6 million people in the city.

Rusmandesiar said that the random figure was the minimum number which was valid for the survey.

The survey showed that from the city's five mayoralties, South Jakarta had the highest IPM index with 72.4 while North Jakarta was the lowest with an index of 66.3.

"It means that the South Jakarta mayoralty has the lowest level of 'suffering', probably because the area has the largest number of middle-class residents than other areas.

"The comparison also means that in 1999, the middle-class were still able to consume goods and services at relatively the same quality and quantity with that in 1996 when the country was not in the crisis yet," Rusmandesiar said.(ind)