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Social workers: 'Much of the cash-for-the-poor diverted' JAKARTA - Most of the social welfare programs created by the government following the fuel subsidy cuts are missing their proper targets, a report released by a group of social workers says. The report showed the four main programs -- the School Operational Aid (BOS) scheme, costing Rp 6.7 trillion; the Health Insurance plan, at Rp 3.8 trillion; the Rp 3.4 trillion Village Infrastructure Development program; and the Direct Cash Aid program costing Rp 6.5 trillion -- were not being distributed properly.

The report titled "Monitoring Benefits for the People" was published by the Communication Forum for Social Workers (FKPSM), an organization affiliated to the Social Affairs Ministry. "Most of the 'irregularities' were caused by a lack of proper promotion of the programs to (their target group) and to (government) institutions about the purposes of the programs and how people could benefit from them," FKPSM chairman Fadhlullah T.M. Daud told The Jakarta Post Monday.

He said the monitoring, which was carried out by more than 100 social workers across the 33 provinces from November to December last year, showed that much of the money had been channeled to irrelevant projects that did nothing to empower the poor. The report said many schools that received the BOS funds spent them on public relations activities, not on repairing school buildings or buying books.

In the health sector, many poor people could not receive the free medical treatment they were entitled to because they could not get health insurance cards, which the report said were difficult to obtain. It said a lack of technical expertise and transparency in spending prevented the many village infrastructure development programs from benefiting the poor.

"The regional administrations that distributed this money did not do so transparently. They did not provide reports about their budget spending to local people," the report said. Meanwhile, the direct cash aid program did not reach many of the most impoverished and needy families, it said. "These deviations were mostly caused by ... poor management in promotion. And this shows how the government formulated these programs -- in a rush, without first designing a proper supporting system," Fadhlullah said.

A deputy to the Coordinating Minister for the People's Welfare, Adang Sutiana, said he would study the report and check whether its data was valid. "Methodologically, the report may not be perfect. But we will use the findings to improve the next phase of the compensation program," he said. Adang agreed that promotion was the weakest link in the programs. He said the ministry would formulate an integrated communications system involving all the government bodies responsible for the schemes.

"The purpose is to provide enough information for the people and to coordinate the ministries responsible for executing the programs, so that they can work effectively and efficiently," he said.


Related blog entries (category 'General') Related blog entries (category 'General'):
26 October 2005 · Fights, frustration mar fuel cash handouts
19 October 2005 · Violence mars fuel cash aid distribution


Posted in General @ 17 January 2006 07:18 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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