Indonesia: Jokowi vows IDR400tr transfer to villages if re-elected

  • Indonesian President Joko Widodo has pledged to raise the funds the government transfers to villages across the world’s fourth most populous country to nearly USD30bn over the next five years if he wins a second term in Apr 19.
  • The World Bank has questioned the effectiveness of the programme, called Village Funds, while there are also concerns about how the transfers can fuel corruption.
  • Widodo, who will be facing former military general Prabowo Subianto in a re-run of the 2014 contest, made the pledge in a televised speech on 24 Feb 19.
  • By the end of 2019, his administration would have transferred IDR257tr to villages and this would rise to IDR400tr if he got another five years, he said.
  • Indonesia’s anti-graft agency has arrested hundreds of village officials for corruption since the Village Funds scheme was launched in 2015. Based on Indonesia Corruption Watch’s tally, as of late-2018, there had been a total of 181 graft cases related to the scheme.
  • Prabowo has criticised Widodo for economic mismanagement that he says has left many Indonesians poor. His camp has also accused Widodo of using the Village Funds, along with a newly introduced “District Funds”, to win votes.
  • In a 2017 report, the World Bank said the funds had not resulted in lower rural poverty due to constraints that limit the quality of spending, even though it noted Widodo’s efforts to improve the programme’s impact.

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