The House of Representatives on Tuesday asked the General Elections Commission (KPU) to explain its allocation of election activity funds to its logistics department, which is set to receive the lion's share of the fund for 2008.
Jazuli Juwaini of the House's Commission II on home affairs, regional autonomy and state bodies asked KPU secretary general Suripto Bambang Setyadi about the allocation in a hearing Tuesday.
"Why is the amount of the allocated budget very high in the logistics post? I don't think we need to renew all goods and equipment if we can still use those from previous elections," Jazuli said.
The Finance Ministry has agreed to provide about Rp 6.68 trillion (US$726 million) from the state budget for KPU's election-related activities in 2008.
"We are thinking of allocating about Rp 3.86 trillion or 58 percent of the budget for logistics procurements," said Suripto.
He said 60 percent of the ballot boxes from previous elections were still usable.
"The Rp 3.86-trillion budget takes all of that into consideration," he added.
Suripto said about Rp 2.49 trillion (37 percent) of the remaining budget would go to the main activities prior to the election and about Rp 324.6 billion (5 percent) would go to election-supporting activities.
In its preliminary proposal to the House, the KPU provided some explanation on the allocations and activities of various departments. For example, the logistics departments would handle not only the procurement of goods and services for the election, but also the distribution of supplies and the evaluation of the entire process.
However, lawmakers were dissatisfied with the explanations. Mustokoweni of the Golkar faction at the House ordered the KPU secretary general to provide more detail on each department's activities.
"Right now the KPU is explaining the allocation of a Rp 6trillion budget in a five-page report," she said.
"We expect the secretary general to provide us with more details on the budget allocation so that we can evaluate whether it is rational or not."
Suripto said the budget allocation he had provided was still very general and he promised to provide a more detailed explanation in the next meeting, scheduled for 10 working days after Tuesday's meeting.
"We are still waiting for the general election bill to be finished, so it's still possible for the amounts for each post to go up or down," he said.
He said the budget from the finance minister was lower than the proposed budget of Rp 8.29 trillion.
"We hope the Rp 1.62 trillion shortfall can be covered by support and facilities from the government and regional administrations," he said. (alf)