TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – The former Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries in President Jokowi’s first term, Susi Pudjiastuti openly urged the President to stop the fuel subsidy program as she believes that the subsidy can be diverted to other social assistance programs.
She argues that the dependency on fuel subsidies is actually not healthy in practice, as she said, there are many cases of abuse of subsidies. She mainly highlighted fuel distribution that does not reach its intended demographic, low-income society.
“The fuel subsidy should be stopped and a living allowance should be given to low-income people with agriculture, forestry, and fisheries professions,” she Tweeted from her account @susipudjiastuti on August 16.
Her Tweet was then responded to by Yustinus Prastowo, the Finance Minister’s special staffer, who claims to agree with Susi Pudjiastuti but maintains that the general public is in need of protection through subsidies that are caused by geopolitical conflict.
“Subsidies must continue to be designed on target. This requires extraordinary processes and efforts and continues to be worked on. Currently, we are facing geopolitical pressures whose impacts are extraordinary. People must be protected with subsidies and social assistance. Please support,” Prastowo Tweeted from his account @prastow.
Finance Deputy Minister Suahasil Nazara on August 15 said to Tempo that the government is currently closely observing the fluctuating global fuel prices and that a decision to raise the price of subsidized fuel has not been taken.
Suahasil said the government had allocated a fuel subsidy and compensation budget of Rp 502 trillion by the end of the year. The budget has swelled from the previous Rp 170 trillion.
The plan to increase the subsidy budget has been approved by the Budget Agency of the House of Representatives (DPR). The government, said Suahasil, will maintain that the number of funds spent on fuel subsidies and compensation is in accordance with the established corridor.
FRANCISCA CHRISTY ROSANA
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