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Free Lunch Program Greenlit, IDEAS Urges Prabowo Subianto Reconsider New Capital Project

25 June 2024 13:47 WIB

TEMPO.CO, JakartaDirector of the Institute for Demographic and Poverty Studies (IDEAS), Yusuf Wibisono, advised President-elect Prabowo Subianto to evaluate the Nusantara Capital City (IKN) project if he’s aiming to run the free lunch program. According to Yusuf, the program strains the State Budget.

"Prabowo must re-evaluate the non-urgent lighthouse projects inherited from President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) like IKN," said Yusuf when contacted via a messaging application, quoted on Tuesday, June 25, 2024.

Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani Indrawati previously announced that the current government and the president-elect had agreed on Rp71 trillion to finance the free lunch program. The budget allocation will be carried out in stages, the minister said. 

Sri Mulyani said this number was agreed upon in discussions on the Macroeconomic Framework and Fiscal Policy Principles (KEM-PPKF) with the House of Representatives (DPR) by maintaining the 2.29 to 2.28 percent deficit over the GDP. 

Yusuf said the free lunch program will be a challenge for the State Budget to cover since it would likely cost Rp100 trillion in its first year. The cost would skyrocket to Rp400 trillion once the program is fully operated. 

As a transitional State Budget, the 2025 budget would not only bear a heavy burden of the programs Prabowo Subianto initiated but also Jokowi’s legacy projects. 

At the same time, Yusuf said the 2025 State Budget must also cover the debt inherited by President Jokowi, amounting to Rp1,300 trillion. The figure consists of Rp800 trillion for the debt payment and Rp500 trillion for interest payment.

"The debt equals half of (Indonesia’s) tax revenue,” he said.

HAN REVANDA PUTRA | ILONA ESTHERINA

Editor’s Choice: Indonesia's Jokowi Wary of Political Unrest Ahead of Government Change 

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