Sat, 12 Feb 2000

Rp 3.5 trillion in the works for 2000 city budget

JAKARTA (JP): The city administration is projecting a 2000 budget of between Rp 3 trillion (US$416 million) and Rp 3.5 trillion, most of which will go toward poverty alleviation and routine expenditure, officials said on Friday.

"The budget will reflect what programs need to be prioritized," Governor Sutiyoso said at City Hall.

He said the lion's share of the budget would go toward routine expenditure rather than development spending, because the city's infrastructure was already relatively established.

"We have built most of our infrastructure and now we only have to maintain it," he said.

When asked whether the budget would include raises for city employees, the governor said: "I will increase the welfare allowance for city employees."

The 2000 city budget will be slightly lower than the 1999/2000 budget of some Rp 3.694 trillion, including the Rp 877 billion which was added to the budget last December.

The 1999/2000 fiscal year will end on March 31, which will also signal the beginning of the new fiscal calender. However, the 2000 fiscal year will only run until Dec. 31, 2000, because future fiscal years will follow the calender year.

Previously, the fiscal year began on April 1 and ended on March 31 the following year.

City Secretary Fauzi Bowo said the budget would be about Rp 3.3 trillion, although he added that the figure could change.

"We are still discussing the final figure. There are a lot of requests from city agencies and mayoralties that their spending be incorporated in the budget," he said.

Fauzi said that while the 2000 budget was lower than last year's budget, the nominal value was higher.

"Considering that we'll only have nine months this (fiscal) year, the amount is larger than last year's budget," he said.

"About 60 percent of the budget will be used for routine expenditures such as maintenance," he added, while declining to give further details of the budget.

He only said the main focus of the budget would continue to be poverty alleviation efforts.

He also said the budget would allocate funds for mayoralty- level and subdistrict-level councils to be established in February and April, although the amount had not yet been discussed by the City Council.

Fauzi warned residents that despite the fact that the 2000 budget was higher than last year's budget, the city's purchasing power was weakening.

"Don't expect too much from the city budget because the city's economic growth of some 1.6 percent is lower than the nation's growth," he said.

He added that the city's inflation rate of 7 percent was higher than the national rate of 2.01 percent last year, making "the city budget increase marginal".

"Usually in the past, the city's inflation rate was lower than the national rate," he said. (05)