Indonesia’s Opposition has slammed the ruling Government over an upcoming meeting between the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, accusing them of spending “lavish” amounts of money amid a national crisis.
- Indonesian Government spent more than $75 million to host a three-day IMF and World Bank meeting in Bali
- The supporters of Prabowo suggest cutting off the hosting budget and diverting it to earthquake victims
- The national committee of the event said the meeting won’t deter the earthquake recovery efforts
Supporters of presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto said the tens of millions of dollars being spent on the meeting being held in Bali tomorrow is inappropriate when other parts of the country are reeling from an earthquake and tsunami that struck Central Sulawesi killing over 1,500 people nine days ago.
The Fair and Prosperous Coalition argued that as a host, Indonesia is required only to provide venues, simple catering, and accommodation, yet the amount being spent far exceeds that of previous host countries.
“The luxurious spirit is extraordinary,” senior opposition politician Rizal Ramli said in a media conference on Friday.
“I don’t think there exists a World Bank party like this in other countries.
“I’ve been to those events. They only provide drinks, potato chips — there’s no such thing as dining functions and guests paid for their own food.”
The earthquake and tsunami hit the cities of Palu and Donggala, and the death toll is expected to rise further as thousands are believed to be buried under collapsed buildings and homes.
“We are now in a difficult state, there are a lot of disasters,” Mr Ramli, who is also the former minister of finance, said. “We need to show that we are concerned about the victims.”
The Opposition demanded the Indonesian Government cut back the budget, saying hosting such an expensive event while other people are fighting for their lives is “embarrassing”.
“It would be better if they saved some of the spending costs and diverted it to help earthquake recovery instead,” Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak, the spokesperson for the presidential campaign of Prabowo, told local media.
In protest, the coalition said they will not send any member to attend the event “to respect the earthquake and tsunami victims”.
The coalition denied allegations that their criticism is a tactic to distract the public from a political drama, accusing the Probowo camp themselves from trying to distract from a scandal involving a former campaigner’s lies about political assault used to cover up for cosmetic surgery.
A quick makeover in Bali to host the annual meeting
The Indonesian Government pushed the development of underpass projects in Bali to be finished before the IMF-World Bank meeting. (Supplied, Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing)
According to officials, the IMF-World Bank annual meeting will cost the state budget more than $75 million — some reported it was worth more than $93 million.
A large budget was also allocated by the Indonesian Government for infrastructure development projects in several destinations in Bali in the months leading up to the event.
These include the construction of Ngurah Rai Airport underpass, Benoa Port, Garuda Wisnu Kencana Statue, and a waste disposal site, which altogether cost an estimated $468 million.
Indonesian officials said about 15,000 personnel would be deployed to Bali during the event. (AP: Firdia Lisnawati)
The Government responded that the projects in Bali were not simply to prepare the island for the meeting, but to speed up projects that had been delayed for years.
Earlier this month, the chairman of the national committee of the meeting, Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, said it would not be a barrier to the earthquake recovery efforts in Palu and Donggala.
According to the committee, discussions about mitigation and economic recovery following the disaster is one of the items on the agenda for the IMF-World Bank meeting.
“Don’t just think earthquakes only happen in Indonesia,” Mr Panjaitan said.
“I think Indonesia can be the leader to highlight disaster mitigation, because it has never been discussed in an IMF meeting.”
According to a statement released by the committee, around 32,000 people — including finance ministers and central bankers from 180 nations — will attend the meeting, exceeding the Indonesian Government’s prediction of 19,000 participants.
Indonesia’s National Development Planning Agency has estimated the economic growth in Bali during the three-day meeting to increase by 0.64 per cent.