The Jakarta Post
The City Council banged the gavel on Monday, approving the much-anticipated city budget for 2013 after a month’s delay. With the approval, the Jakarta administration is expected to be able to expedite its flood-mitigation work.
The council approved a 20.84 percent increase to Rp 49.97 trillion ( US$5.16 billion ) this year from
Rp 41.35 trillion in 2012. The approved budget is higher than the Rp 46.86 trillion initially proposed by the administration.
“[We approved] an additional Rp 3.1 trillion in consideration of the developing situation in Jakarta, including flooding and traffic issues. The additional funding comes from unspent budget funds in 2012,” Council speaker Ferrial Sofyan said after the plenary session.
Ferrial said that the additional funds would be used to finance the administration’s project, without elaborating on the details of the projects. “We hope that the additional funds will be able support the administration’s projects. It is a very large sum, but we are sure it will be effectively spent,” he said, adding that the council hoped that the amount of unspent funds in 2013 would decrease.
Governor Joko Widodo said he appreciated the council’s efforts in scrutinizing programs proposed by his administration. “The process was smooth; even though there were differences between the administration and the council, we finally found the way through. We have gained the support of the council and there is no problem so far,” Jokowi, as he is popularly known, told reporters at City Hall.
While the governor emphasized that the administration would focus on flood-prevention and traffic-related issues, he declined to reveal the funding allocated for this work.
“Our focus will still be on the floods, traffic congestion and [redeveloping] slum areas,” he said, adding that the biggest allocation would be for education.
The 2013 budget comprises Rp 41.5 trillion of annual income and over Rp 8.4 trillion generated from non-tax revenues, which includes Rp 110 billion of unspent funds from the Jakarta Emergency Dredging Initiative loans.
In the initial proposal, up to Rp 12.62 trillion, or nearly 30 percent of the total budget, has been allocated for education. Other large allocations are Rp 4.97 trillion for public works, Rp 4.18 trillion for healthcare and Rp 3.38 trillion for transportation projects.
Council deputy speaker Lulung Lunggana said during the plenary session that economic growth for 2013 was forecast at between 6.8 percent and 7 percent, while inflation was expected to reach 5 percent to 6 percent.
The exchange rate of the rupiah against US dollar was expected to hover around Rp 9,300 per dollar.
Jokowi said that he would soon send a gubernatorial regulation draft on the city’s budget to the Home Ministry for an evaluation.
Extensive flooding hit the capital on Jan. 17, causing an estimated Rp 20 trillion in losses, according to the governor. Over a dozen people were killed with thousands displaced by the flooding.
A state of emergency was declared in Jakarta, which expired on Sunday. “Considering that the situation has improved, I will not extend the state of emergency in the capital,” Jokowi said.
Jokowi has announced plans to prevent similar occurrences in the future, including a project to dredge and refurbish 13 rivers and all the dams in Jakarta.