BLSM won’t influence
political choices: VP

Vice President Boediono said he was sure that the temporary direct cash assistance (BLSM) would not be able to influence the political choices of people who benefited from the assistance.

“So, if there are people who still worry about the assistance, they may need to think again about that Rp 150,000 (US$15.2) monthly cash aid for four months; it actually means nothing for our constituents,” said Boediono at his office in Jakarta on Tuesday as quoted by Antara news agency.

“Our public is already very smart; so, it seems that the money will not have any influence on their political choices,” he added.

Boediono made the statements during a press conference on the compensation payment. Several cabinet ministers, including Finance Minister M.Chatib Basri, National Development Planning Minister Armida S.Alisjahbana, Communications and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring, and Education and Culture Minister M.Nuh, were also present.

Boediono said the targeted households that would receive the cash assistance were listed through an objective survey conducted by the Central Statistics Agency (BPS). The accuracy of the beneficiary list had been rechecked by the local administrations, in particular at village and sub-district levels.

“Through the survey, we got a list of the 40 percent of people with the lowest economic levels. The list was arranged by name and address, so there will be no political aspect,” said Boediono.

He said the government would make sure that the social protection policy ran well and went to only the targeted beneficiaries.

Boediono said the BLSM policy was needed because the government would increase the subsidized fuel price. Such an increase might lead to a rise in the price of basic commodities that would further lead to economic hardship among poor people.

“Referring to our experience several years ago, each fuel price increase would trigger economic problems for 3 to 4 months, after which the situation would get back to normal. This situation should be anticipated,” said Boediono. (ebf)

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