Huge 2011 Draft Budget Worries Legislators

DENPASAR

Bali’s legislature is looking at a draft provincial budget for 2011 that requires total investments of Rp15.78 trillion (US$1.75 billion) a 17-percent rise in tax collections.

Some legislators attended a September 14 session with provincial officials and the head of Bali’s planning agency said later they did not believe the targets were achievable.

The draft budget projects a growth rate of 6.36 percent (2010’s forecast was 5.66 percent) and depended on a sharp rise in investments business, hotels and restaurants and the banking, communications and services sectors.

The public sector is projected to invest Rp2.63 trillion ($292 million), 17 percent of total projected investment, with the remaining Rp13.15 trillion ($1.46 billion) from the private sector.

Legislator Ketut Kariyasa Adnyana said he doubted the private sector investment projection was achievable. “At this time, with the condition of south Bali’s infrastructure as it is, new investment in that area is stagnant,” he said.

“Moreover, the amount of available land is depleted, so where will investments of this size be accommodated? If these investments are supposed to be outside Denpasar, Badung and Gianyar those areas do not have the necessary supporting infrastructure. These targets are just too grandiose.”

Adnyana, from Buleleng, also criticised the projection of a 17-percent rise in tax receipts. “This is all very strange,” he said.

Another legislator, Ketut Mandia, was equally wary, saying there was insufficient land available to accommodate such ambitious investment targets. “If we build new hotels, where is the land? What we must consider is creating a supporting infrastructure in north Bali, east Bali and west Bali. If this happens, there still remains a chance of large, new investments.”

The vice-chairman of the legislature’s Commission III, IGP Suryanta Putra, said he was suspicious of the proposed budget, claiming the budget was drawn up by officials preparing to retire, such as provincial secretary Nyoman Yasa.

“There is a chance that they are not serious in their intent, perhaps trying to lay a trap. If the budget fails, this can be portrayed as the governor’s failure to comprehend (the issues). I hope this will be studied further. This is a trap being laid by members of Bali’s executive,” he said.

Yasa said after the meeting that he would review the provincial budget for re-submission to the legislature.

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