The Indonesian government will start using credit cards to buy goods and pay for travel expenses to simplify spending. (Reuters Photo/Mike Blake)

Indonesian Ministries and Agencies to Start Using Credit Cards to Pay for Expenses


FEBRUARY 21, 2018

Jakarta. The Indonesian government will start using credit cards to buy goods and pay for travel expenses to simplify spending, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said on Tuesday (21/02).

"This will make it easier for ministries and agencies to carry out their activities. They won't have to withdraw cash and carry it everywhere," Sri Mulyani said.

"It will also be more accountable because each transaction will be recorded," she said.

The minister said credit cards will be used to pay for goods, operational and non-operational expenses, inventories, rents, maintenance services and official trips.

The credit cards will be provided by state-owned banks including Bank Mandiri, Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI), Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) and Bank Tabungan Negara (BTN).

Sri said the new system should help ministries and agencies spend their subsidies as outlined in the 2018 state budget.

The government has set aside Rp 847 trillion ($62 billion) this year to be spent by ministries and agencies, up 11 percent from last year.

Wahyudi Darmawan of BRI said the lender plans to issue 10,000 credit cards for ministries and agencies this year.

The government credit cards will not be charged interests, but there will be a one time joining fee of Rp 1.5 million plus a tiny monthly fee.

In comparison, corporate credit cards usually charge an annual fee, a monthly fee and interests.

Sri also warned ministries and agencies to plan their budget better.

Ministry and agency task teams usually revise their budgets at least twice, drafting them to secure approval, not for the benefit of the people, the minister said.

"This is the Indonesian people's money, we should design our budgets to benefit them," she said.

"Next year, I will sanction ministries and agencies that revise their budget multiple times. Maybe by withholding that very same budget," Sri said.