"The special autonomy funds are so indispensable. More than 60 percent (of Papua's budgetary sources) are even obtained from the funds," he said during a hearing with the House's Papua Special Autonomy Fund Committee here on Thursday.
The allocation of the special autonomy funds, however, is set to end with the expiry of the Papua Special Autonomy Law No. 21 of 2001 in November this year, he informed.
Therefore, allocation of the funds must soon be extended by another 20 years, he stressed.
The government is planning to increase the amount of special autonomy funds from 2 percent to 2.25 percent of the General Allocation Funds (DAU), he pointed out.
Related news: Three villagers found dead following gunfight near Ilaga Airport
Related news: Awaiting endgame for Papua, West Papua's lingering problems
The government's plan has purposely been incorporated in the bill for amending the Papua Special Autonomy Law No. 21 of 2001, Karnavian said.
The special autonomy funds the central government plans to increase will not be completely provided in the form of a block grant, he disclosed.
Several parties in Papua have proposed that one percent of the funds be provided in the form of a block grant, while the remaining 1.25 percent be provided in the form of an earmarked specific grant, he said.
The request for earmarked specific grants for public services would be determined by the central government to optimize sustainable development and improve Papuans' prosperity, he added.
Related news: Attackers of 12 soldiers likely from Lamek Taplo-led group: military
The Papua special autonomy law, which has paved the way for a significant amount of funds to flow into Papua and West Papua, has been in force for almost 20 years.
With the law set to expire in November this year, the bill for amending it is being deliberated in the House of Representatives (DPR).
To meet the deadline, House members have listed it as one of dozens of priority bills in this year's National Legislation Program (Prolegnas).
According to data provided by the Finance Ministry, the government has allocated Rp138.65 trillion towards Papua and West Papua's special autonomy funds and additional funds for infrastructure projects so far.
Meanwhile, the government has disbursed Rp702.3 trillion in regional transfers and village funds to the two provinces between 2002 and 2021, according to People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) speaker Bambang Soesatyo.
Despite the flow of significant amounts of central government funds into Papua and West Papua, the two provinces are still struggling to improve the quality of their human capital. Their scores on Indonesia's 2020 Human Development Index have remained below the national average of 71.94.
According to Statistics Indonesia (BPS), Papua and West Papua scored 60.44 and 65.09, respectively, on the 2020 Human Development Index, much lower than Aceh Province, which scored 71.94.
BPS data released in February this year further pegged the poverty rates in Papua and West Papua at 26.8 percent and 21.7 percent, respectively.
Development outcomes remain inequitable for native Papuan communities, as indicated by their low income levels and lack of access to education and health services, it said. (INE)
Related news: 5 PT Papua Cremona workers shot dead by unknown gunmen
Related news: Not all of Papua witnessing violence: senior police officer
EDITED BY INE