In his introductory remarks before a Plenary Cabinet Meeting on Indicative Ceiling of the 2018 Draft of the State Budget on Tuesday (4/4), President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo said that the Government is committed to implementing the laws in allocating the State Budget for education and health sectors. President Jokowi also said that the quality of budget use for education and health sectors has to be improved.
For the planned and well-targeted use of the 20% of the State Budget allocated for education sector, President Jokowi wants that the use of the huge amount of funds should not be done on a routine basis.
“I have told Finance Minister to provide sovereign funds in education sector. We must not use up the entire budget at once and it must be well-targeted. Now please allocate some for the sovereign funds, so we will have much sovereign funds for education sector,” the President said, adding that this is a long-term investment for the next generations.
President Jokowi also hopes that the provision of sovereign funds in education sector can begin soon. The funds, the President said, is aimed at managing education investment funds for the next generations. “We have calculated and it is expected that by 2030, we will have sovereign funds of around Rp400 trillion, used especially for Master and Doctorate degrees abroad,” the President said.
Regarding funds for subsidies, President Jokowi pointed out that the subsidies should be well-targeted and efficient. President Jokowi emphasized that those subsidies have to reach 40% of underprivileged people.
“Be it fuel subsidy, gas subsidy, LPG subsidy, and other subsidies such as fertilizers or seeds. It must be well-targeted and must not be enjoyed by middle or upper class people,” the President said.
As for the Aspiring Family Program (PKH), which is one of the programs effective to alleviate poverty according to the President, the program must be closely monitored. President Jokowi also hopes that the target can be increased from 6,000,000 families into 10,000,000 families.
“It means we will need extra budget,” the President said.
As for spending for agricultural sector, President Jokowi hopes that the budget can be used to develop horticulture. “It’s more than just rice. We have to develop others. We have seen increase in rice production, seen from the supply at the State Logistics Agency (Bulog),” the President said.
As for irrigation, the President said the irrigation infrastructure development must be adjusted with the existing paddy fields.
“I have the data. There are cases in which the irrigation system exists but there are no fields. The dam has been operating for years but there is no irrigation system,” the President said.