Indonesian parliament finally enacted the much-awaited Law on Villages, paving the way for direct allocation of funds from state budget to finance village empowerment.
Budiman Sudjatmiko, a legislator from Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) who acted as deputy chairman of a parliament's special committee discussing the draft of the village law, said that through the enactment, villages across the country will get 10 percent of state budget. "It would make 72,000 villages across the country to obtain an average of 1.4 billion rupiah (about 116,000 U.S. dollars) per year,"Budiman said on the sidelines of the draft's enactment into law in the parliament building on Wednesday, adding that the fund allocation was intended to finance village-initiated programs aimed at empowering the villages.
He, however, added that the exact allocation would be considered on the village's geographical condition, population and rate of poverty.
Funds proposed by each village would be resulted from democratically-conducted process in Village Deliberation Body (BPD) , involving representatives of villagers, Budiman added.
The BPD is a body set up by village administration, tasked as a forum to discuss implementation of policies related to village management."It (BPD) holds the discussion at least once a year," Budiman said.
To avoid possible corruption in the process, the legislator, a former staunch democracy activist, said that municipal and regency administrations would be involved in those processes, including composing the budget of projects in the villages to be financed by the funds.
Ahmad Muqowam, a legislator of Commission II in the parliament that oversees government's policies in domestic affairs, said that enactment of the law has been endorsed by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
He added that through the law enactment, the government ensures the annual salary and allowances for village chiefs and their subordinates, aimed at ensuring the development process at village level.
The much-awaited law had gone through seven parliament assembly periods before being enacted into law. During those periods, village chiefs and their subordinates held rallies for several times in front of the parliament building and presidential palace, demanding the state's attention to their rights and status related to their tasks in administering villages across the country.
The government has recognized them neither as civil servant nor as representatives of political parties. As a result, the central government had never allocated funds to pay their salaries.