Thu, 04 Mar 1999

Sutiyoso proposes 56% increase in new budget

JAKARTA (JP): Governor Sutiyoso submitted to the City Council on Wednesday a draft city budget for the upcoming 1999/2000 fiscal year worth Rp 2.74 trillion, a 56 percent increase from the current budget of Rp 1.75 trillion.

The governor told the council's plenary session that the draft was designed with the assumption of 5.41 percent negative economic growth and inflation between 15 percent and 20 percent throughout the budget period.

According to Sutiyoso, the significant increase in the draft budget was mainly supported by the estimated Rp 1.26 trillion in local revenue, with income from regional taxation as its prime component.

The figure is 54.72 percent higher than the estimated tax revenue for the current fiscal year, he said.

The other income for the budget would include the central government's grant of Rp 1.23 trillion and a possible surplus of Rp 246 billion from the 1998/1999 budget, Sutiyoso said.

"The assumption (of the significant increase in the draft budget) is mainly based on the city's intensifying efforts in collecting various regional taxes, such as those on vehicles, transfers of vehicle ownership, fuel, hotels and restaurants," he told the council.

"We should also be thankful that the central government is about to raise its fund allocation (to the Jakarta administration) by 34.37 percent to Rp 1.23 trillion, which is mainly due to the planned increase of civil servants' salaries," the governor said.

Unlike in previous years, the media were not given copies of the draft budget.

According to Sutiyoso, revenue from taxes collected on vehicle sales is estimated to increase by 55.73 percent to Rp 350 billion for the fiscal year, vehicle ownership tax revenue will rise by 45.18 percent to Rp 200 billion, and tax on hotels and restaurants will bring Rp 168 billion, a 58.38 percent increase.

The biggest increase has been predicted by Sutiyoso to come from tax on entertainment, such as movie theaters, bars, discotheques and massage parlors.

His administration estimated that the entertainment tax revenue would jump to Rp 36 billion in the next fiscal year, an 80 percent increase from the current budget.

The governor said that some city-owned companies, including the PDAM Jaya water company, the PT Pembangunan Jaya construction company and the PT Delta Jakarta brewing company, might not be able to give financial contributions to the city because of the economic crisis, which has shrunk the value of the assets of most of the companies.

According to Sutiyoso, Rp 2.06 trillion of the proposed budget will be allocated for the city's routine expenditure, while the remaining Rp 683 billion would be spent on development.

The greatest portion of the routine expenditure, Rp 905 billion, would go to paying the wages of city employees.

This is followed by expenses of operational equipment (Rp 421 billion) and maintenance (Rp 310 billion), Sutiyoso said.

The development expenditure was allocated to 20 sectors in the draft budget, mainly focusing on the ongoing social safety net program, which included the supply and distribution of food, job opportunities and the development of small and medium businesses in the capital.

The money would be allotted to housing and resettlement programs (Rp 84 billion), transportation (Rp 72.65 billion), water and irrigation (Rp 72.87 billion), social and cultural programs (Rp 78.24 billion) and state apparatuses and control (Rp 78.10 billion).

Many of the city councilors warmly welcomed the draft budget. Some of them were even optimistic that the administration could achieve its targets.

Even the current austerity budget also resulted in a surplus, supporters said.

But some councilors questioned the reasons behind the city- owned companies being exempted from contributing to the city's revenue.

Head of the Indonesian Democratic Party faction in the council Lukman Mokoginta said it was impossible that big companies such as PT Pembangunan Jaya were unable to make a contribution.

"It is a big diversified company," he said.

Deputy head of the United Development Party faction Ali Imran Husein said the companies should have first been audited to prove their inability.

"I promise that our faction will question the matter further," he said. (ind)