Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Finance Ministry has urged regional authorities to optimize the expenditure of regional budgets in the final weeks of 2022 as the current expenditure realization has reached only 75.22 percent of the target.

"According to our observation, to date, the nationwide regional budget expenditure realization has reached only 75 percent. We will continue pushing for more spending," the ministry's director general of fiscal balance Luky Alfirman said at a press conference here on Friday.

Those regional budgets whose spending realization has only reached Rp903.3 trillion out of the Rp1,200.87 trillion expenditure ceiling must be optimized for development programs in regions, which will benefit residents, he informed.

Moreover, the central government has supplied 93.54 percent, or Rp752.81 trillion, out of the Rp804.78 trillion target of the transfer to regions and village funds, the official said.

Regional authorities must also elaborate available budgets for regional development to create a multiplier effect and achieve uniform prosperity for residents, he added.

"The duty of regional (authorities) is how to spend their budget for the development to realize a multiplier effect that benefits residents' prosperity," Alfirman said.

Meanwhile, director general of regional finance at the Home Affairs Ministry, Agus Fatoni, affirmed that his office will work with the Finance Ministry and relevant authorities to expedite budget expenditure in regions.

"Spending must be expedited, and we must not halt the spending while the budget is available. It will be a waste if we have the budget, yet the spending is not expedited," he said.

Earlier, Coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto, said that one of the reasons for sluggish regional budget spending was the budget reallocation for COVID-19 pandemic handling purposes.

"There was an allocation for COVID-19 pandemic handling, which has been relatively manageable, and we also redirected for other programs," Hartarto said on December 1.

He expressed confidence that the spending realization of regional budgets in the final month of 2022 would increase as the central government is coordinating with regional authorities to bolster spending.

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Translator: Astrid FH, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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