Fri, 18 May 2001

Well tax to increase 500 percent

JAKARTA (JP): While the controversy about the increase in vehicle registration fees still rages, the city administration revealed on Thursday a plan to increase artesian well tax by 500 percent.

Head of the City Mining Agency M. Ali Rozi said the administration had proposed a bylaw to the City Council to increase well tax fivefold, from the current Rp 2,500 (about US2 cents) to Rp 12,500 per well.

"It is necessary to increase (the tax) to fund natural conservation. The digging of the earth to make many wells damages the environment," Rozi announced at the council building.

He said that with the increase in well tax, expected to be effective soon, the agency aimed to secure Rp 30 billion from the tax this year.

Most residents in the city obtain water from artesian wells.

Meanwhile, chairwoman of the Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI) Indah Suksmaningsih regretted the plan to increase the well tax.

"It will burden the poor," she told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

She urged the council to reject the proposal to increase the tax, saying that people were still suffering due to the increasing prices of staple foods.

"City officials just collect taxes from the public without working hard," Indah said. She urged them to instead push city- owned firms to generate more revenue.

The city administration expects to generate about 70 percent of the Rp 7.1 trillion target of the 2001 city budget from taxes and fees while the rest was expected to come from city-owned companies.

While more than 60 percent of the budget will be used to finance routine spending, the remaining 40 percent is for development expenditure. (jun)