The government has been criticized for allocating Rp 30.2 billion ($3.3 million) in the state budget for meetings led by the president and vice president during 2012.
The Indonesian Forum for Budget Transparency (Fitra) said on Tuesday, quoting data from the State Secretary’s office, that about Rp 29.5 billion had been allotted for the meetings themselves and some Rp 700 million for documentation.
Fitra coordinator for advocacy and investigative, Uchok Sky Khadafi, further detailed that Rp 3.3 billion had been allotted for 44 plenary cabinet sessions, Rp 1.1 billion for 30 non-plenary cabinet meetings, Rp 5.3 billion for three working meetings with regional heads, Rp 14.3 billion for two scheduled leaders’ retreats, commonly to serve visiting foreign leaders, and Rp 558 million for presidential lectures, among other meetings.
Uchok said he understood many of the meetings were necessary to support the government’s job, but added many others were ineffective and the amount of money budgeted to organize them was too much.
“[The meetings] are very costly. How could they have a heart to waste people’s tax money?” Uchok said.
“Those meetings should be free. Seeing the amount allotted for those various meetings, we can say that the government’s work is only meetings and other meetings.”
The presidential office could not be reached for confirmation at the time of writing.