Asian Peoples' Movement on Debt and Development

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Activists say no to IMF

JAKARTA: Activists have called on the Indonesian government to drop its plan to lend US$1 billion to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and channel the fund instead for domestic purposes.

"The government always claims that it runs on a tight budget and that it cannot afford to pay for fuel subsidies or procurement for the new Corruption Eradication Commission [KPK] building, but here they are offering money to the IMF," Anti-Debt Coalition (KAU) program coordinator Yuyun Harmono toldThe Jakarta Post.

The KPK is currently waiting for the approval from the House of Representatives for the disbursement of Rp 225.712 billion (US$23.93 million) budget for the construction of its new building. Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo said that the government could only cover Rp 60 billion for the new building.

"Yet it can still afford to lend the IMF the equivalent of Rp 9.4 trillion," KAU activist Dani Setiawan said.

KAU activists also said that contribution to the IMF could entangle Indonesia in a number of the agency's "destructive" actions.

Chairman of the Indonesian branch of the Asia-Europe People's Forum (AEPF Indonesia), Riza Damanik, said that the money would only be used to empower big businesses.

"The money will be used to cause misery in all parts of the world," he said.

Finance Ministry had earlier said that the contribution to the IMF would show the country's commitment to playing a greater role in the global community.

Riza said the planned contribution was also part of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's public relations campaign to raise his stature in the international community.

"I suspect the President is lending this money so that he can be seen as someone who helped save the world from its current economic crisis," Riza said.

Photo Courtesy of Antara/Ismar Patrizki. 

Published in The Jakarta Post

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