The Jakarta Post
Governor Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo has only spent less than 60 percent of the staggering Rp 50.1 trillion (US$4.2 billion) city budget this year, but city observers still deem the effects of the spending to be noticeable.
Over the past year, Jokowi has made his major projects, which included relocations and dredging, apparent by consistently promoting areas affected by the relocation, public spaces and the like, to the public.
Jokowi's social welfare programs ' the Jakarta Health Card (KJS) and Jakarta Smart Card (KJP) ' have reached underprivileged Jakartans, despite minor challenges.
While Jokowi has focused on urban issues, his predecessor Fauzi Bowo chose to work on mega projects such as the mass rapid transit (MRT) system ' which was not started until October this year ' and non-toll road development, which according to Trisakti University urban planning expert Nirwono Joga 'did not touch the core of the city's issues'.
'Jokowi has an issue with budget spending as his administration has only spent about 55 percent of the total budget this year, however, residents can directly enjoy the city budget through a healthcare and education allowance, as well as spatial planning in various focal areas like Tanah Abang [Central Jakarta],' said Nirwono.
Programs to alleviate traffic gridlock and perennial flooding are among Jokowi's top priorities.
This year, his administration dedicated Rp 2.5 trillion to a flood-anticipation program and another Rp 1.5 trillion to procure new public transportation, some of which has arrived in the capital but is not yet operational.
His aims to reduce the capital's traffic and anticipate flooding were elaborated in the proposed city budget for 2014, 38 percent of which was dedicated to the aforementioned issues.
'Our mission is to become a city free of perennial issues such as flooding, traffic congestion, slums and garbage,' Jokowi said recently.
The governor proposed a Rp 69.5 trillion budget for 2014, a nearly 40 percent increase on this year, to the City Council recently. His administration was upbeat it would generate Rp 62.21 trillion in revenue, up by 53.07 percent from the Rp 40.64 trillion this year.
The increase in only a year under Jokowi's leadership was rather significant, compared to the city administration's revenue raise under Fauzi's administration, which generated a 50 percent increase in budget within five years.
Fauzi spent Rp 41.35 trillion in 2012, up by 50 percent from Rp 18.65 trillion in 2007. He generated
Rp 33.65 trillion in revenue in 2012, up 80 percent from Rp 18.65 trillion in 2007 when he assumed the post.
University of Indonesia (UI) public policy expert Andrinof Chaniago said irregularities were believed to be behind the slow growth in city revenue and budget during Fauzi's tenure.
'The lack of transparency in the previous administration hampered the public learning about our real potential income. We saw a slim increase, sometimes no increase or even a drop in revenue, which didn't seem viable given the fact the capital's economic growth was among the highest in the country. It didn't make any sense at all,' he told The Jakarta Post.