TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The government has since 2015 allocated a total of Rp127.64 trillion in village funds to develop infrastructure and other facilities in villages.
However, in 2018, the government will change its policy by not only focusing on the allocation of the funds for infrastructure development but also on boosting labor-intensive development in villages.
Thus, there is a big chance for villagers to become the beneficiaries of the funds through the development of labor-intensive projects. Projects are expected to be done by villagers through a self-managed system and not by contractors as they used to be.
Based on President Joko Widodo (Jokowis) labor-intensive program in villages, at least 30 percent of the village funds should be designed as payment for workers in labor-intensive projects.
The government in 2018 will allocate 60 trillion as village funds. If 30 percent of the funds are designed for villagers involved in the labor-intensive program, villagers will be able to pocket Rp18 trillion.
Data based on the program indicates that there are 74,910 villages which will receive the funds. In average, each village will receive Rp800 million, of which 30 percent or Rp240 million will be allocated for villagers who are worker.
"The labor-intensive program to be launched by Jokowi is an apt solution to increase economic growth and equality in the region, in villages in particular," House Speaker Setya Novanto said in a statement on Friday (Nov 3).
According to him, the program will cause community empowerment to be done in a more participatory form, so that it is in line with good village governance. Moreover, the House Speaker highlighted that the program is not about giving away money for free but will be based on Jokowis idea to invite the community to be actively involved in development.
"The lower middle class people, especially our poor brothers, can get jobs and be directly involved in the development of the regions and their villages. As the development continues to progress, the people would also get additional income," he revealed.
Hence, the government, beginning in 2018, has decided to use more of the village funds for labor-intensive program in 100 districts. "God willing, we will start the program in 2018. All village funds will be focused on the development of labor-intensive development, so that its utilization will be focused on villagers through a self-management system in the villages of 100 districts," Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture, Puan Maharani, explained on Friday.
The government acknowledged that over the past three years, most of the village funds were used to build infrastructure and village facilities, which were not done in the labor-intensive system.
"Entering 2018, based on the directives of Jokowi, we will be focusing on labor-intensive system. Village officials will take part in the development of their villages. There must be scale priorities. If work could be finished in three days with machines, there will be no problems if it is finished in 30 days by villagers. What is more important is that programs are settled and money is flowing to villagers pockets," remarked Maharani.
She revealed that each village will still receive funds in different amounts, namely between Rp800 million and Rp3 billion.
Jokowi noted that the village funds should be used for labor-intensive projects that would create more jobs in the villages. At a limited meeting at the Jakarta Presidential Office with several cabinet ministers, Jokowi reminded his staffers to run self-managed village fund programs.
One of the programs is a labor-intensive program (a cash-for-work program) launched by the government for the development of physical infrastructure in the country, which is short-term.
Therefore, the Head of State has ordered his rank and file to continue to strengthen all aspects of the program. "I demand that ministries/institutions who have programs in the region or in the villages are consolidated either from the planning side or from the budget aspect of the financing," the president stressed.
In addition to this, the president also requested that the utilization of village funds be strengthened in the regions that can develop leading sectors and become the driving forces of the national economy. "Small and medium industries, agro-businesses, fisheries, and so on need training and assistance to explore and develop the potential in their respective villages," he noted.
The president stated that he will prepare a presidential regulation to create a labor-intensive program that can provide large number of jobs to strengthen the purchasing power of the people.
"It is planned to be carried out in 2018, and it will be self-managed by villages and implemented through a labor-intensive system, so that people will have jobs and earn wages that will increase their purchasing power," Teten Masduki, the presidential chief of staff, elaborated at the state palace on Tuesday.
The ministries of backward villages and transmigration, transportation, public works, housing, and agriculture have been instructed to prepare technical regulations for the projects.
Some of the village funds set at Rp60 trillion in 2018 are planned to be channeled for programs, such as irrigation, pond development, or village road development projects.
The rural development ministry will utilize the village funds in its budget, and the other ministries will align their programs in accordance with their budget.