Monday, February 05, 2007

Papua parliament passes expenditure regulation

The Papua Provincial House of Representatuves has approved a special regulation on the allocation and management of trillions of rupiah in autonomy funds from the central government. The regulation, which was approved during a plenary session in Jayapura consists of seven chapters and 33 articles. It will govern the use of an expected Rp 3.29 trillion (US$346.31 million) in autonomy funds this year.

Under the regulation, 40 percent of the money, or an estimated Rp 1.31 trillion, will be managed by the Papua provincial administration. The remaining 60 percent, an estimated Rp 1.97 trillion, will be managed by 20 municipalities/regencies in Papua province and nine municipalities/regencies in Irian Jaya Barat province. The drafters of the regulation chose not to allocate any of the funds for the Irian Jaya provincial Barat administration, which they believe was not established in line with the law on Papua special autonomy.

Criteria for the allocation of funds to municipalities/regencies will be based mainly on the size of the administrative areas, number of residents, geographical conditions, locally generated revenue, property tax revenue and local gross domestic product. Mathias Rafra, spokesman of the Papua provincial administration, said the details on allocations for each municipality/regency would be discussed further with the governor and mayors/regents.

According to the regulation, the Papua provincial administration will allocate 15 percent of the autonomy funds for health and nutrition development, 30 percent for education, 15 percent for the local economy, 12 percent for village infrastructure and 8 percent for official spending, among other allocations.

At the level of municipalities and regencies, 30 percent of the money will go toward education, 15 percent for health and nutrition, 15 percent for community economic empowerment, 15 percent for village infrastructure, 5 percent for official expenditures and 5 percent of the money will be put into savings. The funds put into savings will only be disbursed after a minimum of 15 years, with the allocation of this money to be adjusted according to regional regulations.

Women's rights activist Sofya Maipauw said that while a large amount of the money would go toward women's empowerment, she was concerned the funds would not be wholly enjoyed by Papuan women because the special regulation failed to provide clear guidelines on which organizations would be entitled to the money. Sofya expressed fear new non-governmental organizations, backed by government institutions, would be set up for the main purpose of claiming some of the funds.

She said an independent institution comprising members of existing women's organizations should be established to manage the funds, to ensure the money went toward the empowerment of indigenous Papuan women and children. "I have to emphasize here that they should not disburse funds to (government-sponsored) women's organizations like the PKK (Family Welfare Movement), Dharma Wanita or the Women's Organization Coordinating Agency. Rather, the money should go to Papuan women's organizations in the kampongs," she said. - Nethy Dharma Somba (JP)

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