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BP Tapera Commissioner Explains the Controversial Income Cut for Housing Savings

Translator

TEMPO

Editor

Laila Afifa

22 June 2024 14:08 WIB

TEMPO.CO, JakartaBP Tapera Commissioner, Heru Pudyo Nugroho, explains the compulsory 3 percent cut of monthly income for the public housing savings scheme.

Only three months into his job as Chair of the Public Housing Savings Management Agency (BP Tapera), Heru Pudyo Nugroho faced endless criticism. The cause of the public outcry is Government Regulation No. 21/2024 regarding Public Housing Savings (Tapera) obligating all employees to deposit 3 percent of their monthly income for the Tapera fund. “We didn’t expect this level of public outrage,” he said.

The Tapera polemic has occupied Heru and his team with frequent meetings with various government agencies. During a discussion with the Bank Indonesia leadership, for instance, he was asked about the calculation as to how a worker can own a house by saving 3 percent of monthly income until retirement. He was also summoned to the House of Representatives (DPR) on June 6. It was the first time he came face to face with legislators.

On Monday, June 10, the same day as the interview with Tempo, Heru was also visited by officials of the Ombudsman of the Republic of Indonesia, who asked the agency not to burden business owners. The meeting with the Ombudsman took place at the BP Tapera office in Kebayoran, South Jakarta.

BP Tapera occupies a building formerly used by the Housing Fund Management Center (PPDPP) of the Public Works and Housing Ministry. In 2020-2021, PPDPP and the Civil Servants’ Housing Savings Advisory Board were merged into BP Tapera. Previously, BP Tapera used a shophouse in Jalan Iskandarsyah Raya as its office. “BP Tapera is struggling, so the office is still like this,” Heru joked.

Heru sat down with Tempo reporters Raymundus Rikang, Sunudyantoro and Yosea Arga Pramudita for an interview that lasted over one hour. Throughout the interview, he was accompanied by five of his employees, who helped answer some of the questions. One of them was Information Technology Director Terzia Ananta Bagus, who demonstrated how to use the Tapera Mobile application. The application provides information regarding the savings balance and the locations of houses that employees can purchase. “This digital innovation is a way to build public trust,” Heru asserted. Excerpts of the interview:

What is the background of drafting Government Regulation No. 21/2024 regarding Public Housing Savings?

Audit recommendations needed to be acted upon. One is the management of the Housing Financing Liquidity Facility, or FLPP, which has not been backed by regulations. We have been mandated to harmonize regulations and increase accountability and transparency. We discussed ways to include these recommendations in the new regulation with the stakeholders.

How is the calculation of the 3 percent deduction for workers?

The percentage hasn’t changed. It was stipulated in Government Regulation No. 25/2020 regarding Tapera, which later became Government Regulation No. 21/2024. This regulation is derived from the Tapera Law. The section regarding the 3 percent was reiterated as part of a rewording process.

This provision precisely triggered public protests because it seemed like a compulsory savings scheme.

I myself did not anticipate this because we never set a 3 percent savings requirement. Hasn’t this regulation been in place for some time? We didn’t mean to wake the sleeping tiger by setting the effective date. The regulation was read as if it would be implemented immediately, which is not the case.

Won’t it still come into effect in 2027?

The latest by 2027.

What is the scenario like?

We are carefully drafting a strategic plan and annual targets. The implementation may be gradual. The program will be rolled out in 2025 for civil servants first. A year later, it will become applicable to independent employees by considering input from the public and the employees of SOEs (state-owned enterprises) or regional government-owned enterprises. Only in 2027 will it become applicable to private-sector employees.

Protests against Tapera broke out because familiarization was not massive enough. Is that correct?

We acknowledge that the familiarization process has not been massive, from the birth of the Tapera Law to the issuance of the derivative regulations. We suspect that the government focused on Covid-19 mitigation when Regulation No. 25/2020, which later became Regulation No. 21/2024, was issued. The public’s attention was also on the pandemic. They were not aware of the new regulation.

Has there been no discussion with business associations either?

Familiarization has indeed been minimal. We will meet with business and labor associations so all sides will understand the benefits of the Tapera program. We understand the objections from businesses amid the volatile economic conditions. We will certainly take these into consideration.

Read the Full Interview in Tempo English Magazine



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