Indonesia leader pledges for cash for village fund

25 Feb 19

The president of Indonesia has committed a total of $30bn of investment to local villages over the next five years – if he wins a second term in the April elections.

The move comes under a programme called Village Funds, which has been questioned over its effectiveness amid concerns of corruption.

President Joko Widodo made the pledge in a televised speech. He will face former military general Prabowo Subianto in the election, as he did in 2014.

By the end of this year the government will have transferred 257 trillion rupiah ($18.36bn) to villages, according to Reuters. Widodo said he would raise this to 400trn rupiah ($28.54bn) if he secures another term.

“Half of Indonesian people live in villages and there is a higher poverty level there than in cities,” he said. “With better utilisation [of money], the prosperity of the people will be more evenly distributed to remote villages.”

The anti-graft agency in Indonesia has arrested hundreds of officials from villages for corruption since the scheme was launched in 2015.

Opposition leader Subianto has criticised the current president for financial mismanagement, which he says has left many people in poverty.


UPDATE at 10am on 27/01/19:

This story has been updated to remove reference to World Bank questioning the effectiveness of the programme.


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