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 Basuki Slams Ministry for ‘Stupid’ City Budget Cut

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BerichtOnderwerp: Basuki Slams Ministry for ‘Stupid’ City Budget Cut   za 11 apr 2015 - 9:15

The Jakarta Globe, Apr 10, 2015

Jakarta. Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama has slammed the Home Affairs Ministry’s decision to slash the capital’s annual budget by $232 million, calling the move “stupid” and “erroneous.”

The city administration is seeking to revive last year’s budget after this year’s budget was stalled over allegations of manipulation and markups by the City Council.

City Hall last year proposed a budget of Rp 72.9 trillion ($5.6 billion), but the ministry ultimately approved a budget of Rp 69.28 trillion.

The ministry’s director general for regional financing, Reydonnyzar Moenek, said that last year the city only earmarked Rp 63.65 trillion to fund its infrastructure projects and operational expenses, and another Rp 1.39 trillion as its share in the mass rapid transit rail project, also part-financed by the central government.

The city last year earmarked Rp 7.86 trillion to cover the 2013 budget deficit.

“Which is why [the ministry] can only approve the same Rp 63.65 trillion, plus an additional Rp 5.63 trillion,” Reydonnyzar said.

The bulk of the Rp 5.63 trillion is slated to boost capital in the MRT project as well as provide funding for bus operator TransJakarta.

Basuki, however, called the argument “insane.”

“This is nuts. They said the spending is the same as in 2014. The ministry is so stupid for making such interpretations. I want to say to them: ‘How can you make such an erroneous decision?’ ” he said.

Basuki maintained that the ministry should accept City Hall’s proposal in its entirety.

Reydonnyzar said he would be willing to personally explain this decision to the governor, but declined to comment on Basuki’s remarks.

“We are bound by rules and regulations. We are not making our own interpretation of the law,” he said.

“I will explain [to Basuki] about the ministry’s decision.”

Reydonnyzar added he was confident that the city administration would accept the decision as it grows more and more desperate for cash.

“If the city accepts the revision then the money can be disbursed before April 20,” he said.

“I am sure [the city] wants to use the budget as quickly as possible.”

The budget is already more than three months behind schedule, causing major infrastructure projects to stall.

City Hall also has several outstanding bills, including to state electricity provider PLN, while salary payments to civil servants have also been delayed.


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