Bansos a political aid fund?

Bansos is for the people but sometimes the spending of the fund has been politically motivated....
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government is generous enough to set aside a hefty amount of Rp91 trillion for social aid (Bansos).

However, disbursement of the funds ahead of the election has raised suspicion.

The fund could easily be misused by political parties having access to it for political purposes, observers said.

The system used in the disbursement of Bansos makes it difficult for controlling. There are many government agencies having their shares of Banson necessitating wider system of control.

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), therefore, has asked the government to putt off disbursement of the fund until after the presidential elections.

KPK has asked President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to temporary stop disbursement of Bansos.

It has also sent letters to all heads of regional and district administrations requesting details of the social aid fund management.

KPK, however, has not received an answer to the request, bringing about more suspicions of irregularities in the Bansos fund management.

Deputy chairman of KPK Busyro Muqoddas said the agency is responsible not only for uncovering corruption.

KPK is also responsible for prevent misuse of budget fund and to monitor details of its spending, Busyro added.

The country will hold legislative election on April 9 to be followed with presidential election on July 9 this year.

Political parties will need huge funds to finance pre-election campaigns .

"Bansos is for the people but sometimes the spending of the fund has been politically motivated. Those in authority from political parties tend to spend the money in their own constituency although it is needed more in other areas," Eva Kusuma Sundari, a lawmaker from the Commission III of the House of Representatives said.

Abdullah Dahlan from the Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) noted the budget for Bansos has increased sharply from year to year.

In 2011, the budget for Bansos was set at Rp77 trillion, up in the following years to reach Rp91 trillion in 2014.

The KPK has been suspicious that the fund would be used more for political interest, therefore, the anti graft body has called for a temporary halt to the disbursement of the fund until the "political year" is over.

KPK also said the management and disbursement of all Bansos funds should be handed over to the ministry of social affairs alone to make control easier.

KPK wants that the social affair ministry should be the only agency to handle disbursement of Bansos fund, for various programs such as health care, education and poverty eradication.

The government has planned to allocate the Rp91 trillion Bansos fund among 15 ministries and agencies this year.

The precaution requested by KPK is needed especially as at least six of the cabinet ministers are legislative contestants. They include Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Syariefuddin Hasan, Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Roy Suryo, bopth of the ruling Democratic Party, Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan of PAN, Labor and Transmigration Minister Muhaimin Iskandar and and State Minister for Backward Area Development Helmy Faishal Zaini both of the PKB, and Agriculture Minister Suswono of PKS.



Bansos for Political Budget



Citing an example, Sargihal, a resident of Pondok Pekayon Indah, said ahead of election of Bekasi city major last year all battered streets in the housing complex, South Bekasi, were repaired, paved with concrete.

The people, regardless of the political motivation, or not all aware of it, voted for the incumbent.

The people were thankful to the major. They did not ask where the money came from and what was behind the generosity. The result was the incumbent won.

That was only an example of politically motivated disbursement of Bansos.

Corruption is also potential in markup of the spending of Bansos fund.

Busyro Muqoddas said Bansos fund could be misspent or misused in various ways .

"The fund could be reported being used for fictitious projects or programs," he said.

Greater transparency, therefore, is demanded in the way the social aid fund being spent.
(AS/O001)

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