Temporary Solution Found for Jakarta Budget Woes
Jakarta. Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama and the provincial legislature have made a temporary agreement to allocate spending equivalent to last year’s budget, as the prolonged deliberations for the capital’s 2015 budget threatens the continuity of a wide range of programs.
Basuki and the legislative council, known as DPRD Jakarta, reluctantly agreed to temporarily set this year’s expenditure at Rp 72.9 trillion ($5.6 billion) after a mediation with Vice President Jusuf Kalla on Monday.
The figure falls short of Basuki’s proposal of Rp 78 trillion and even more so of that of the provincial legislature, at Rp 90 trillion.
Basuki drew the legislature’s ire last month after bypassing it and submitting his own version of the draft budget to the Ministry of Home Affairs for approval. The governor has called the Rp 12 trillion gap “stealth funds,” accusing the council members of conspiring to mark up project values in the budget for personal gains.
Basuki has submitted several relevant documents for scrutiny by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), Indonesia Corruption Watch and the Attorney General’s Office.
The Jakarta budget is now well past its original deadline of late last year.
Kalla said after his separate meetings with Basuki and DPRD Jakarta leaders that both sides agreed to peacefully continue with the deliberations on this year’s budget for the next two or three months.
In the meantime, last year’s budget could be used to ensure the Jakarta administration’s programs can continue running. Instead of a bylaw, which must be agreed to by both the governor and the legislature, Basuki can issue a gubernatorial regulation to legitimize the use of the temporary budget, the vice president said.
“Jakarta must issue a gubernatorial regulation to make sure that the administration keep running.”
“The minister of home affairs will check the gubernatorial regulation [after its issuance],” Kalla said on Monday evening. “If changes are needed, they can revise the budget. That’s the solution.”
But the vice president admitted that problems may arise from the lack of harmony between last year’s figures and projected spending and revenue for this year.
“The provincial budget will be constant [the same as last year].”
“This means we can’t expect progress in Jakarta, including how it should tackle floods and the damaged roads,” Kalla said. “That’s why meetings are needed. After the gubernatorial regulation is issued, the DPRD and the governor must discuss which points they agree to and which points they don’t,” he added.
Prasetyo Edi Marsudi, the speaker of DPRD Jakarta, said that the legislature agreed that deliberations over the budget revision would be necessary if a gubernatorial regulation was to be issued to validate the use of last year’s budget. He added, though, that the outspoken governor should learn to communicate better with the city’s legislators.
Basuki expressed disappointment that he could not proceed with his version of the 2015 draft budget. He cited as an example tax revenue from parking services, which are projected to increase quite significantly this year, would not be allocatable for spending because the budget from last year would not allow for it.
“We may have an extra revenue of Rp 2 trillion or even Rp 20 trillion, [but we won’t be able] to use it for the people. This is the weakness [in using budget from last year],” Basuki said.
Meanwhile, the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) has censured a national television station for broadcasting an interview in which the Jakarta governor used offensive language.
Basuki made a number of severe comments criticizing the alleged corrupt behavior of some DPRD Jakarta members and administration officials — while being interviewed live by Kompas TV about the 2015 provincial budget dispute.
Basuki was dismissive of anchor Aiman Witjaksono, who asked him to tone down his choice of words on live TV. The governor, who later said he was unable to control his anger, apologized the following day via Twitter.
But Kompas TV has not got off so lightly. KPI issued a statement on Monday saying it had suspended the news program “Kompas Petang” for three days for failing to control the interview.
“The television station is considered negligent for its inability to stop Basuki from using harsh language that is inappropriate for viewers,” the KPI circular stated. “A TV interviewer should be able to caution or even stop an interviewee from saying inappropriate things.”
The regulator found that the harsh words used by Basuki violated several articles of its broadcasting code of ethics. The circular from the regulator claimed the outspoken governor had set a bad example to young Indonesians after swearing on television.
Kalla, meanwhile, said Basuki could become a legend if he was willing to brush up on his public speaking skills and tone down his harsh language.
“Yesterday, I told Basuki that he could become a local legend like Ali Sadikin, but he must work properly and stop being rude — I told him he could be a legend for years to come,” the vice president said on Tuesday, referring to a popular and much-loved former Jakarta governor.
Source: The Jakarta Globe