MPR speaker backs extension of autonomy funds for Papua, West Papua

MPR speaker backs extension of autonomy funds for Papua, West Papua

People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Speaker Bambang Soesatyo visited Wamena, Papua Province, on Tuesday (March 3, 2020). (ANTARA/special)

With the government and House's political decision, I hope that the provision of the granted special autonomy funds can be extended
Wamena, Papua (ANTARA) - People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Speaker Bambang Soesatyo said he urges the government and House of Representatives (DPR) to extend the special autonomy funds for Papua and West Papua Provinces, which will end in 2021.

"With the government and House's political decision, I hope that the provision of the granted special autonomy funds can be extended," he told journalists, on the sidelines of his visit to Wamena, the capital of Jayawijaya District, Papua Province, on Tuesday.

However, Soesatyo recalled that the uses of the autonomy funds, which have been granted to Papua Province over for the past 18 years and to West Papua Province for 13 years, should be more effectively directed to improve the welfare of the people.

He highlighted the importance of more effective uses of the funds for improving social prosperity, education, and health of the general public in the two provinces.

The total amount of special autonomy funds that the central government has provided to Papua and West Papua since 2012 has reached Rp126.99 trillion. Therefore, their uses need to be optimized for the sake of the public, he said.

Evaluating the uses of these funds is needed, but it is not for the purpose of looking for mistakes. Instead, the evaluation is aimed at how to make their uses more effective in bringing prosperity to the residents of Papua and West Papua.

More importantly, peace needs to be preserved and prevented from being disrupted by notorious armed Papuan criminals, who might threaten the safety and security of the people in the two provinces.

In dealing with these security issues, Bambang Soesatyo suggested that armed Papuan criminals be approached, not only law enforcement, but also through intensive discussions by involving all parties, including local officials and religious figures.

Referring to Indonesia's 2019 human development index, the scores of Papua and West Papua were recorded at 64.7 and 60.84, respectively, which remains lower than those of other Indonesian provinces.

In the case of human resources development, during his second term, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) pledged to focus on improving the quality of Indonesia's human resources, amid fierce competition among nations in the digital era.

His seriousness is obvious, as revealed in the government's statement on the bill on the state budget for the 2020 fiscal year and its financial note, which he delivered to the House of Representatives (DPR) plenary session on August 16, 2019.

The President believes that the power of the improved quality of human resources would enable Indonesia to act upon its vision to become a developed country, Jokowi said. However, in terms of innovation, Indonesia has yet to participate in global innovation networks.

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