Sat, 25 Jan 2003

NGO warns budget ripe for corruption

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

More than Rp 1.5 trillion (US$111 million) of the spending outlined in the 2002 draft city budget, which amounts to a total of Rp 11.05 trillion, could be saved, while Rp 539 billion of the proposed spending was susceptible to corruption, a non- governmental organization said on Friday.

The Indonesian Forum for Budget Transparency (Fitra) revealed that based on a study it carried out on 14 of the draft budget's books, the city's 24 agencies and offices had allocated a total of Rp 968 billion to pay for the governor and councillors.

"The allocation of this money is defrauding the public as special allocations for the governor and councillors have already been made," Fitra's deputy director Haryono said in a public discussion at a hotel in Central Jakarta.

Haryono pointed out, for example, that the governor and councillors would get Rp 10 billion from the City Education Agency, Rp 3.6 billion from the City Empowerment Agency, Rp 24 billion from the City Youth and Sports Agency and Rp 6 billion from the City Social Affairs Agency.

According to the draft budget, the South Jakarta, West Jakarta, East Jakarta and North Jakarta municipalities had allocated Rp 254 billion, Rp 208 billion, Rp 317 billion and Rp 556 million respectively for the upkeep of the governor, deputy governor and councillors.

"These are double allocations. The allocation of these monies is part of a conspiracy among the Jakarta elite to hoodwink the public," Haryono asserted.

He said the draft budget had already allocated Rp 9 billion for Governor Sutiyoso, Rp 6 billion for Deputy Governor Fauzi Bowo, and Rp 91.6 billion for the city's 85 councillors.

Based on Fitra's study of Government Regulation No. 109/2000 on the financing of the governor and deputy governor, and Government Regulation No. 110 on the financing of the City Council, Haryono said the allocation of the additional funds should be reduced.

He said the allocation for Sutiyoso should be reduced from Rp 9 billion to Rp 1.4 billion, Fauzi's allocation from Rp 6 billion to Rp 799 million, while the City Council allocation should be lowered from Rp 91.6 billion to Rp 47 billion.

"We could save at least Rp 259 billion if we prepare the budget for the city's leaders in accordance with the procedures," he said.

Besides the allocation of these monies, Fitra also found that there were various unclear allocations in the 2003 draft budget worth a total of Rp 539 billion, all of which would be prone to corruption.

Included in the Rp 539 billion worth of allocations was one of Rp 414 billion for the city secretariat to be used to aid political parties, and social and mass organizations.

According to the draft budget, the city secretariat will also be allotted Rp 114 billion as a contingency fund, something that would also be susceptible to corruption.

Meanwhile, the City Council had been allocated Rp 8 billion for allowances for members and council leaders, and Rp 804 million for allowances for teachers, medical staff, and the governor and deputy governor.

The 2003 draft budget states that the Seribu Islands regency will get Rp 900 million for empowerment programs. According to Fitri, these were unclear and also prone to corruption.

City Secretary Ritola Tasmaya admitted that some explanations in the draft budget needed further clarification. This was because the administration had used different calculation methods from those employed in last year's budget.

"However, the allocations can still be reviewed as they're still at the discussion stage," Ritola said during the discussion.