The Jakarta Post
Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati has denied accusations that the significant jump in the allocation of social assistance to poor households was a political motive ahead of the presidential and legislative elections next year.
“Through social media, the Finance Ministry always says that it is not [the government’s] money, it is the people’s money […] I think, we shouldn’t worry about the motive [behind the social assistance],” Sri Mulyani said as quoted by tempo.co on Wednesday.
She was responding to criticism raised by Ramson Siagian, a lawmaker from the opposition Gerindra Party, who accused President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s government of using the state budget for the President’s own political interests while the country’s debts increased.
Ramson revealed that the government allocated Rp 55 trillion (US$3.75 billion) for social assistance in 2017 and was projected to spend Rp 80.2 trillion and Rp 103.2 trillion for the assistance in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
“The debt made by the government has burdened the people, now and in the future. […] Yes, it is the people’s money, not the President’s,” he added.
Sri Mulyani argued that the spending on social assistance was in line with the government’s efforts to address the issue of poverty in the country by helping communities who lived below the poverty line, and
It is also part of the government’s aim to improve the country’s economic performance, as requested by the House of Representatives, she added. (bbn)