Fri, 14 Jan 2000

Village chiefs ask for allowance hike

ALOR, East Nusa Tenggara: A number of chiefs in remote villages in the province have complained over their small government allowances, warning that they could generate corruption.

Head of Helandohi village on Alor Island Hermanus Lika Sali and his Pandai counterpart Rahman Abdullah said on Wednesday they deserved a bigger annual allowance because of their status, which sometimes required them to work day and night.

"We have to serve the public round the clock, but who cares about how we can feed our families. We demand that the government pay us according to national salary standards," Hermanus said.

He said the inadequate allowance had led some village heads to embezzle rural development funds.

The current state budget allocates Rp 45,000 for each village head's annual allowance. The East Nusa Tenggara provincial administration has set an additional allowance for each village chief of Rp 150,000 for the current fiscal year.

Village heads do not earn salaries from the government because they are not part of the bureaucracy.

Ngada Regent Albert Nong Botha told visiting provincial legislature members recently that many village heads in the regency refused to take part-time work. (yac)