Papua provinces development funds: SBY

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 07/30/2010 9:39 AM | Headlines

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered an audit of the disbursement of the state budget for the development of Papua’s two provinces, saying that progress on development to date was far from satisfying.

“I think it will be important for us to conduct an audit of the special autonomy regional development fund.

I have received many letters that accuse [Jakarta] of carelessness for, among other things, shortcomings in Papua’s development fund,” he said at Merdeka Palace on Thursday.

Yudhoyono said that the progress of development in Papua’s two provinces should be more advanced than what was seen today. The government’s development budget for the provinces was among the highest in the country, he added.

Papua and West Papua provinces have the largest per capita development spending among the country’s 33 provinces, Yudhoyono said. “If there is no improvement there, then we have to know why,” he added.
“We should conduct an audit to examine which of our policies have been incorrectly focused. Is it the management, the budgeting or the overall efficiency?” Yudho-yono said.

The government had changed its development policy towards Papua in 2005, he said. “We have been implementing a prosperity approach after we previously imposed a security approach,” he added.
Law enforcement had accompanied the implementation of the country’s prosperity approach in line with the flow of development funds, including the special autonomy fund, he said.

“It is now the time for us to see Papua in its full context. We shouldn’t blame each other and become the target of accusations leveled by domestic and overseas NGOs,” he said.

Coordinating Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa said he was deeply concerned about the low human development index in Papua, despite large state budget allocations.

According to the Coordinating Economy Ministry, the state allocated Rp 22.42 trillion (US$2.49 billion) for the development of Papua province was in 2010, and Rp 8.1 trillion for West Papua province. Papua will also receive an additional Rp 8.5 trillion in 2010 and West Papua Rp 3.9 trillion in special autonomy funds.

“I think those funds are big enough. Per capita development spending for Papua is the highest when compared to other provinces,” he said.

Hatta said there should be an audit of the provinces’ development funds spending.
“The question is why do we still have a low human development index when there’s economic growth?” Hatta said.

The government will evaluate the implementation of a 2007 presidential instruction on accelerating development in Papua and West Papua, he added.

Citing the presidential instruction, Hatta said that government would emphasize five areas for development: food security, education, health, infrastructure and affirmative action for young Papuans.

“Local government has seen that the presidential instruction is still needed. We should still monitor the use of Papua development fund allocated by the state budget so it can be used more effectively,” he said.  (ebf)

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