The National Family Planning Coordinating Board of Indonesia (BKKBN) revealed the country might exceed its ideal population of 237.8 million people by 2015, if existing budget and technical challenges continue.
BKKBN head Sugiri Syarief said Thursday the country's population might reach 255 million by 2015.
He said the government needed between Rp 3.5 trillion and Rp 4 trillion (US$366 million and $418 million) this year, to push the population growth rate down from 1.3 percent to 1.1 percent next year.
To reach the 2015 target, Sugiri said the country's population growth rate must fall to less than 1 percent each year.
Speaking at a press conference for World Contraception Day on Oct. 26, Sugiri said the state budget provided Rp 1.6 trillion last year for family planning.
"We have Rp 1.63 trillion for this year's family planning program," he said.
"Although my agency has received another Rp 30 billion, I don't think the budget is sufficient to support family planning coordination."
However, he expected improved coordination between the Office of the Coordinating Minister for the People's Welfare and the Health Ministry.
Farid A. Moeloek, a health expert from the University of Indonesia, told the conference Indonesia needed a reproduction law to monitor the population growth rate, as the health law recently passed by the House of Representatives did not accommodate for family planning.
"Indonesia will need family doctors to provide people with family-planning education," he said,
"This is because many people are not well informed about family planning methods, including the use of various contraceptives such as intrauterine devices *IUDs* and condoms."
Sugiri said men were not well-educated about contraceptive methods such as vasectomy. BKKBN's data shows only 1.5 percent of Indonesia's male population have had vasectomies.
"There are limited contraceptive procedures available to men," he said. "There are condoms or they can have vasectomies."
He said the country would soon have a new male contraceptive, now being developed by the Biomedics Department at Airlangga University in Surabaya, East Java.
"The new contraceptive method is still in the preclinical stage and will be ready in about 10 years' time," he said, but declined to elaborate.
Sugiri also said there was no consistency in regional administrations' family planning budgets.
"Budgets vary according to the size and population of regions," he said.
"Allocated budgets are not proportional to the size and population within regions, and some regions allocate Rp 40 million, while others only provide Rp 1.2 billion."
In addition to budgets, Indonesia also has technical challenges, such as an inability to effectively make contraception accessible to the public.
"Many families can't afford health insurance," Sugiri said.
"Which means they are unable to receive information and support."
However, family planning coordination, which was introduced in 1970, has proved successful in pushing Indonesia's population growth down.
Sugiri referenced Widjojo Nitisastro, chairman for the economic advisory team for then president Soeharto. In 1966, before the introduction of family planning, Widjojo predicted Indonesia's population would reach 285 million in 2000 and 330 million in 2008.
However, the country's population last year was much lower than Nitisastro's prediction.
According to the government census, Indonesia's population in 2000 was 205.8 million and last year's population was 229 million.
Sugiri said the average age that Indonesians started families was 19.8 years old, and people considered the ideal age for starting families was between 25 and 35 years.
"Many developing countries' average age for having children is under 20," he said.
He said this was because the nation was not sufficiently educated about family planning. (nia)