Saturday, 14 December 2019

Govt Mulls over Budget Hike up to Rp1.6tn to Handle Forest Fires

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Laila Afifa

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  • A Mi-18 helicopter of Indonesia's Mitigation and Disaster Agency (BNPB) drops water on a burning forest in Musi Banyuasin near Palembang, South Sumatra province, Indonesia. The haze has forced schools and airports to shut, with tens of thousands of people suffering from acute respiratory illnesses. Antara Foto/Nathan

    A Mi-18 helicopter of Indonesia's Mitigation and Disaster Agency (BNPB) drops water on a burning forest in Musi Banyuasin near Palembang, South Sumatra province, Indonesia. The haze has forced schools and airports to shut, with tens of thousands of people suffering from acute respiratory illnesses. Antara Foto/Nathan

    TEMPO.CO, JakartaFinance Ministry is mulling over the additional budget at Rp1.6 trillion as proposed by the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) to put out the ongoing forest fires.

    “It is still being reviewed,” said the ministry’s budgeting director general Askolani to Tempo in Jakarta, Thursday, September 26. However, he affirmed that the budget might be disbursed as the government has listed the emergency fund in the 2019 State Budget.

    Forest and land fires in several areas of Sumatra and Kalimantan are still raging until now. The BNPB head Doni Monardo said 328,724 hectares of land have been burned down throughout the year with 86,563 hectares of which are peatlands. Therefore, the agency requested an additional budget to Minister Sri Mulyani.

    BNPB’s rehabilitation and reconstruction deputy Rifai reiterated that the budget would be allocated in the emergency operational area to deal with wildfires. “So it will be on-call fund,” Rifai said.

    Askolani asserted that the funds earmarked by the government are enough to handle the natural disaster in 2019. The available funds, he added, would also be sufficient for the agency to settle the forest fires until the year’s end.

    As for the next year, the Finance Ministry would allocate the disaster budget into three posts: Rp4-5 trillion for emergency response funds, disaster rehabilitation and reconciliation funds for Palu, Central Sulawesi, and West Nusa Tenggara, as well as mitigation disaster funds in Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG).

    FAJAR PEBRIANTO