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Resignations at Bali Tourism Board

BTB Supervisory Board Members Resign as Chairman Issues Statement Defending Management Style and Use of Recovery Funds.


Five members of the supervisory body charged with monitoring the financial accountability of the Bali Tourism Board (BTB) resigned on Wednesday, November 1, 2006.

As reported on [Bali Tourism Board Under Attack], the BTB has been criticized for a lack of communication and transparency with the stakeholder organizations that comprise the tourism promotion body.

According to a report published in the Indonesian language Bali Post, the five members who resigned en masse from BTB are: I Gusti Agung Prana, Hadi Taryoto. John Ketut Pantja, Cok Putra and I Gusti Bagus Yudhara. In resigning, the five stated they were no longer prepared to share responsibility for decision made by BTB.

The resignation was tendered at an internal meeting held in Denpasar last week at which the leadership of BTB was criticized by the five who resigned the organization. Also joining the chorus of criticism leveled at BTB's leadership were Yos WK Amerta, the Bali head of the Water Sports Association (Gahawisri) and Rudy Antara of Bali Village.

Quoted in the Bali Post, John Ketut Pantja complained: "I speak frankly. The Chairman of the BTB cannot operate independently. If everything's fine, then why are members of the Supervisory Body resigning? The Chairman must correct himself."

In a separate press conference, the Chairman of BTB Bagus Sudibya insisted that he had clarified all the various problems surrounding Bali's recovery funds. Moreover, he reminded everyone that the Secretary General of the Department of Culture and Tourism, Hengky Hermanto, had attended the just completed meeting with stakeholders in order to clearly explain the funding issues which are, in the end, controlled by the Central Government.

Hermanto assured the group that all Bali Recovery programs are now underway in accordance with government regulations. He said that approximately 65% of the subject funds have been expended.

In a press release from the Bali Media Center operated by BTB, Chairman Bagus Sudibya expressed his disappointment, saying, "I'm just so sad that this negative sentiment has emerged. There have been a number of set backs for the Bali Recovery Program and this negativity won't help us help Bali. That is my key motivation, to do what's right for Bali's future."

In reply to critics of the BTB who claim there has been a lack of transparency in the management of funds, Sudibya said that these claims are based on a lack of understanding of the arduous processes imposed by the Government on the expenditure of funds for the recovery project. Explaining further, Sudibya said any promotional activities for the Bali Recovery Fund are self-funded, and only reimbursed by the Government through the Ministry of Culture and Tourism once the correct reporting requirements has been met. Sudibya added: "It would be helpful if more people were prepared to bridge the costs of promotional activities for the benefit of Bali out of their own pockets and risk the delays in reimbursement from the government. And, to ensure your company has the correct licenses and meets Government regulations in order to be able to implement promotional activities representing the tourism industry is a very complicated and involved process."

According to Sudibya, those companies holding the proper license to conduct the recovery events and prepared to pay the up-front costs and risks then the additional risk of being reimbursed on a case-by-case basis, and that only after each activity or event is completed.

The BTB press release explained that appointment of an event or convention organizer is subjected to a stringent selection process. The statement went on to say that the BTB only has the authority to propose potential organizations to the Bali Tourism Authority (BTA) who then selects the companies or organizations for final recommendation to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Finally, the decision on which companies are authorized to conduct promotional programs or events under the Bali Recovery Fund lies solely with the Ministry, based on the proposals and recommendations made by the of the BTB and BTA.

Defending the decision to appoint his own Company - Nusa Dua Bali Convex (NDBC) to manage a number of Bali Recovery projects, Sudibya pointed to NDBC's status as a company licensed to "partner with the Government on promotional or community initiatives."

Saying, "I aim to assure the public that the funds for the Bali Recovery Project are well managed," Sudibya presented the following chart showing the status of recovery fund spent to date:

BTB Budget

Click to Enlarge!

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