"The second round of special autonomy funds should have been transferred in June at the latest," Papua's Assistant Secretary for Economic and Social Welfare Affairs Muhammad Musa'ad stated.
However, as of Thursday, the provincial government had yet to receive the second round of the funds, Musa'ad noted in a press statement that ANTARA quoted in Jayapura on Friday.
The provincial administration has distributed the first round of special autonomy funds that it had earlier received from the central government to all regional administrations, he revealed.
Musa'ad highlighted the importance of available funds for the government's programs, including funding infrastructure facilities for Papua's 2021 PON National Games.
"We have never held the special autonomy funds that the central government has transferred. In its place, we directly disburse them to all district and city administrations," he explained.
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 two decades.
With the law set to expire in November this year, the bill for amending it is being deliberated in the House of Representatives (DPR).
Related news: Papua preparing for Pacific Exposition 2021
Related news: Unidentified gunmen fatally shoot 5 people in Papua's Yahukimo
To meet the deadline, the House members have listed it as one of the 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 during the period between 2002 and 2021, according to People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) speaker Bambang Soesatyo.
Despite the flow of large amounts of central government funds into Papua and West Papua, the two provinces are still grappling with ways 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 that scored 71.94.
The 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 pointed out.
Related news: Friday prayers banned in Jakarta's red zones
Related news: New variants spread more quickly and exacerbate patients' condition
EDITED BY INE