PDI-P insists in refusing
fuel price hikes

The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) has so far refused to support the government’s plan to raise subsidized fuel prices, saying that it can maintain the existing fuel subsidy by making efficiency savings in other sectors.

“We think the government does not need to raise the subsidized fuel price because it can carry out budget efficiency measures in other sectors,” said PDI-P faction leader at the House of Representatives, Puan Maharani, on Monday, as quoted by Antara news agency.

A draft 2013 revised state budget formulated on an assumption that a fuel price hike is not implemented is being proposed by the PDI-P faction during a plenary meeting which is ongoing today.

Puan said that during a deliberation of the draft law on 2013 revised budget at the Budget Commission in the House, her faction found several articles that were not in line with those being proposed by the PDI-P.

“We consider that the fuel price hike will only bring misery to people and the poverty rate will continue to increase. Moreover, the fasting month Ramadhan and Idul Fitri celebration are getting closer,” said Puan.

Responding to the proposed temporary direct cash assistance (BLSM), Puan said that, from her party’s point of view, social aid for poor people should be provided in the form of labor-intensive programs for villagers, not in cash. She doubted that the BLSM could be well-delivered to targeted beneficiaries.

“If the assistance was in a form of work program in villages, the benefits could be felt by all people in the villages,” said Puan.

PDI-P is one of three factions, which include the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) party and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) that are refusing to support the fuel price hike. (ebf)

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