Resolution Near in Village Funds Dispute, Minister Vows

BY :EZRA SIHITE & CARLOS PAATH

JANUARY 13, 2015

Jakarta. Yuddy Chrisnandi, the minister for state administrative and bureaucratic reform, has denied talk of a spat between two ministries over control of annual village development funds to the tune of Rp 20 trillion ($1.5 billion).

“There is speculation from several politicians [at the House of Representatives] saying that [the two ministries] are fighting over money. That is not true at all,” Yuddy said after a limited cabinet meeting on village funding on Tuesday.

The funds are mandated by the Village Law, passed by the House last year, which allows all villages across the archipelago to receive Rp 1 billion assistance from the central government to develop their economies and infrastructure.

The Home Affairs Ministry and the Villages, Underdeveloped Regions and Transmigration Ministry have both been laying claim to the fund, saying they have the sole authority in controling how the fund is allocated.

But Yuddy said that management of the fund fell under the aegis of the Finance Ministry. “So the dispute revolves on planning and not money,” he said.

Tuesday’s meetings also split roles between the two ministries. The Home Affairs Ministry, Yuddy said, will be in charge of the administrative aspect of the fund, while the village ministry will administer planning, supervision and people’s empowerment.

“For the financial supervision aspect, we will rely on existing supervisory mechanism done by the BPKP,” he said, referring to the State Finance Development Comptroller. “There is no need for special supervision from the ministries,” he added.

Yuddy said his office would soon draft a presidential decree regulating the technical aspects of how the fund was allocated, channeled and monitored.

Village minister Marwan Jafar said the meeting did not address the overlapping authority with the Home Affairs Ministry, adding that he was waiting for President Joko Widodo to issue a formal decree before making further decisions on the issue.

“We have no problem coordinating [with the Home Affairs Ministry]. But, again, we are waiting for the official decision from the president,” he said.

Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo echoed the sentiment, saying he was still waiting for the president’s confirmation “on who gets to run [the program].”

Experts earlier said that the issue had the potential to become “highly political,” particularly with so much money are at stake.

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