Mon, 12 Jun 2000

Raising funds

PT Lasindo Multimedia, assigned by the organizing committee of the 15th National Games 2000 to collect funds for this sports event, has been able to collect Rp 17.8 billion donated by 28 sponsors, while the target set for these funds is only Rp 11 billion (Bisnis Indonesia, June 3, 2000).

Success in raising funds as shown by PT Lasindo Multimedia should be a model for the House of Representatives and the government in raising funds from private and state enterprises and also from the community or individuals concerned with the great plight that the state and the nation now finds itself in. These funds may be used, for example, to open up employment opportunities, assist our fellow countrymen in areas needing evacuation, put a stop to anarchic acts, eradicate the abuse of drugs and do other noble jobs in order to bring back order and peace of mind in the community and revive economic activities.

Our debts now total US$134 billion or Rp 1,139 trillion (Good heavens!). It seems as if we would abandon all our dignity if, again, we beg the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for financial assistance. Let's now all stand up in a dignified manner to mobilize our own forces.

One of the ways to mobilize funds is that the government, for example, issues different kinds of residential identity cards, just like credit cards.

There would be, for example, diamond cards, gold cards, silver cards and bronze cards for citizens willing to donate respectively Rp 1 billion, Rp 100 million, Rp 10 million and Rp 1 million for their residential identity cards. I am sure that successful business magnates and tycoons like Mr. Eka Cipta Wijaya, Mr. Ciputra, Mr. Yusuf Kalla (Bukaka Group), Mr. James Riyadi, Mr. Setiawan Jody and Mr. Probosutedjo would be willing to give donations in this manner as long as the government could convince them that the funds would be spent purely and transparently for the urgent needs aforementioned.

The same way could also be adopted in the case of driver's licenses, passports and other identity cards which are very personal in nature. Owing to this highly personal nature, the issuance of such identity cards would not spark any social envy.

There is still another way that the government could resort to in mobilizing public funds. A citizen willing to pay land and building tax and vehicular registration for five to 10 years at once or pay his electricity/telephone bills for a period of one to five years at one go would be entitled to a discount or special treatment. A payment system like this would entail exemption from any future tariff hikes.

It must be borne in mind that normal ways will not work to overcome the critical situation that we find ourselves in now. We need breakthroughs or rather crazy methods.

In line with the novel fund mobilization, the government must also ensure that unproductive expenses must be reduced to the minimum. Official ceremonies, for example, must be simplified.

All government officials from the highest to the lowest ranks must live a simple life and show that they are different from New Order government officials.