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Indonesian gov't redesigns rice program

Publication Date : 22-04-2014

 

Coordinating People’s Welfare Minister Agung Laksono said on Monday the government had decided to make changes in Indonesia's rice- for-the-poor program, locally known as raskin, as recommended by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

The announcement was made after the ministry held a coordination meeting with the antigraft body on Monday, during which head of KPK’s research and development division, Roni Dwi Susanto, briefed Agung on the findings of a probe into the raskin program.

Agung said that his office would focus on reviewing the program’s distribution system, which the KPK alleged to have been rife with irregularities.

“It first will focus on the planning, implementation and the supervision of the raskin distribution system,” Agung said.

He added that the ministry would also make measurement adjustments for the accuracy, timing, quantity and quality of rice being distributed in the program.

Agung maintained that in spite of the problems plaguing the program, the government had no plans to stop the program after 16 years.”

“This program is the mandate of our Constitution and we hope that the incoming government will continue this program as well,” said Agung..

Earlier, KPK deputy chief Busyro Muqoddas said that the raskin program was plagued by cartel practices, a suspicion that have been denied by Agung, who afterward called on Busyro to provide evidence to support his suspicion.

During the coordination meeting held at Agung’s office, Roni said that there were nine recurrent problems in the 16 years of the program’s implementation.

“As the problems in the raskin program are recurrent, we need to find out who has been benefited from the irregularities,” Roni said, adding that the current problems plaguing the program had been recurrent over the past 10 years.

The KPK found that some of the problems concerned the invalid data of targeted households, fictitious distribution of raskin rice and rice-price hikes despite subsidies, unfair distribution and poor rice quality.

“Many households not listed among targeted households received raskin rice, while eligible recipients received less than 15 kilograms as outlined by the program,” Roni said.

Each household participating in the program should only have to pay 1,600 rupiah (14 US cents) per kilogram of raskin rice, thanks to the large government subsidy disbursed every year.

“Some targeted households also could not afford to pay 1,600 rupiah per kg, so their quota was taken over by those who could afford it although they were not officially listed as targeted households,” Roni said.

Agung, however, said that all the problems found by the KPK were minor and that the KPK did not appreciate the success of the program.

“Around 30 to 40 per cent of Indonesians have benefited from this program. What [the KPK] has shown does not represent the implementation of the raskin program in its entirety. The successful aspects, however, have not been reported [by the KPK],” Agung said.

He added that in the next 30 days, the government would come up with an action plan to start a redesign of the raskin program.

After completing the action plan, he said that his office would try to test which new formulas would work best for the raskin program.

According to data from the KPK, the budget allocated for the raskin program was 21,4 trillion rupiah for 15.5 million targeted households in 2013, while it was 19.3 trillion rupiah for 17.4 million targeted households in 2012 and 16.5 trillion rupiah for 17.4 million targeted households in 2011.

Meanwhile, data from the Cabinet Secretariat showed that the government had allocated around 15.3 trillion rupiah for the raskin program in 2011, 15.6 trillion rupiah in 2012, 17.9 trillion rupiah in 2013 and 18.8 trillion rupiah in 2014.

 

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