West Sumatra questions govt over distribution of earthquake aid

West Sumatra questions govt over distribution of earthquake aid

National News – June 02, 2007
Syofiardi Bachyul Jb, The Jakarta Post, Padang

West Sumatra Governor Gamawan Fauzi says the central government has failed to live up to a promise to allow the province to distribute earthquake relief aid to regencies and cities.

He said the office of the Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare would give reconstruction funds worth Rp 700 billion (approximately US$77.7 million) to cities and regencies without the provincial administration’s knowledge.

Meanwhile, a number of local governments are unhappy with Rp 60 billion in building materials provided by the Social Services Ministry.

Gamawan said the office of the Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare had earlier promised to distribute the funds through the provincial administration, which would then channel them proportionally to regencies and mayoralties.

“Apparently, the funds, amounts of which have been set by the central government, have been distributed directly. However, not every region has received them. On top of that the regional administrations have complained about the building material aid from the Ministry of Social Services,” Gamawan said.

The office of the Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare has agreed to provide Rp 700 billion for the reconstruction of quake-hit houses. It has disbursed the first installment of Rp 350 billion. However, two of the seven regional administrations — Padang Pariaman regency and Solok city — have not received aid.

Gamawan said each of the administrations had taken the initiative of filling in the project forms (DIP) themselves in Jakarta without first reporting to the provincial administration. As a result, the provincial administration was not told how much money had been distributed to the regencies and mayoralties.

“From what I saw in the DIP, for example, Tanah Datar regency had received Rp 41 billion, while some areas received Rp 20 billion. The regional leaders have not distributed the aid because they are unsure of the procedures,” he said.

Each badly damaged house is slated to receive Rp 15 million, while a partly damaged house will get Rp 10 million.

Gamawan said the amount of aid each region deserved could not yet be determined, pending results from an assessment team.

The team, provided with Rp 750 million, will determine the number of seriously, partly and slightly damaged houses over the next three weeks.

The administrations and legislatures of a number of regions are asking for cash aid instead of the building materials provided by the Social Services Ministry, Gamawan added.

“They cited various reasons, such as that they no longer need building material aid because they have finished building their houses,” he said.

Tanah Datar Regent Muhammad Shadiq Pasadique said earlier he rejected aid in the form of building material.

“It’s less effective because every person’s needs are different. Some of them have even reused materials from their damaged houses. So, distributing the aid would be difficult,” he said.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/yesterdaydetail.asp?fileid=20070602.G02

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