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Conspicuous Conferencing

Budget Watchdog Group Criticizes ‘Lavish' Spending on APEC Conference in Bali

Bali News: Bali, Indonesia, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference, APEC, Cost of APEC, Uchok Sky Khadafi, Forum for Budget Transparency, Seknas Fitra
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The Jakarta Globe reports that the large sums spent by the Indonesian government on hosting the 2013 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit has come under fire for being wasteful.

In a statement issued as the conference got underway on Wednesday, October 2, 2013, Uchok Sky Khadafi, director of advocacy and investigation at the Indonesian Forum for Budget Transparency (Seknas Fitra) said: “For the APEC summit, the government has wasted a large amount of the budget and forgotten the poor and has neglected damaged infrastructure.”

Ucok described the APEC Summit as expensive and unnecessarily lavish.

Criticizing the way in government funds were handled and allocated, Ucok decried the fact that the Rp. 352 billion (US$30 million) spent on the Summit was spread across and managed by four separate government ministries.

The dispersion of APEC funds were roughly divided across the following ministries:

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs Rp. 222.427 billion
  • Ministry of Finance Rp. 16.587 billion
  • Ministry of Trade Rp. 16.587 billion 
  • Ministry of Communication Rp. 57.5 billion
Other amounts were distributed to the Corruption Eradication Agency (KPK).

Seknas Fitra believes one statuary body as opposed to the current involvement of 5 government agencies would have more efficiently handled the government funds spent on APEC.

“It should have been managed and distributed through one single door to prevent overlapping spending and programs. The government should appoint one ministry to manage the budget so the spending can be more efficient,” Ucok explained.

He also bemoaned that the funds spent on premium services for visiting guests that might have better been spent on Indonesia’s damaged infrastructure.

Uchok describes APEC as having more disadvantages than advantages for Indonesia, pointing to the national trade deficit of US$2.31 billion in July of this year. APEC officials have set as major target of the Summit the strengthening of free trade and investment in the region.

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