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Energy ministry’s budget cut by a third to Rp 6.2 trillion

first_imgIndonesia has so far budgeted Rp 695.2 trillion to tackle the COVID-19 epidemic, which has claimed 2,573 lives as of Wednesday, the highest death toll in Southeast Asia, official data shows.Read also: Indonesia increases COVID-19 budget again amid soaring deficitHowever, the cuts carry repercussions for the programs’ intended recipients, many of whom include Indonesia’s poor, said House of Representatives members and industry groups.The House pressured the ministry into diverting more funds to execute solar-powered street lighting (PJUTS), water well drilling, fishermen and farmer fuel-converter distribution programs, all of which were to be slashed by a greater degree before the hearings. The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry is cutting back on program funding after its annual budget was slashed by more than a third to Rp 6.2 trillion from Rp 9.7 trillion as the government diverts funds for COVID-19 containment. The largest cut is slated for oil and gas programs at 52 percent, lower than initially planned. This is followed by renewable energy programs (45 percent), geology programs (36 percent) and internal programs (15 percent). Some of the programs will be continued next year, according to ministry data released on Thursday.“[The budget cuts] support the financial needs to tackle COVID-19 and help the economy recover,” said Energy Minister Arifin Tasrif on June 23, which was the first of a three-day hearing with lawmakers in Jakarta. Oil and gas programsMinistry data from Thursday’s hearing shows that planned cuts in oil and gas programs are led by a 37 percent cut to farmers’ gas-to-fuel converter program and a 52 percent cut for the household gas pipe program.Such kits convert subsidized cooking gas (LPG) into a fuel for gas-fired engines, whether a fisherman’s boat engine or a farmer’s water irrigation pump. Using the gas reportedly cuts fuel expenses by around 30 percent.“Convertors are important in that it deals with fuel,” Indonesian Fishermen’s Association (HNSI) secretary-general, Anton Leonard, told The Jakarta Post. “If possible, do not make a cut now when fishermen are struggling to fish.”He added that fuel costs contributed between 40 and 50 percent of a ship’s total operational costs, depending on vehicle size.The gas pipe program, meanwhile, was slated to distribute gas pipe connectors to 266,000 households, mostly for towns in Sumatra and Java. Such piped gas is cheaper per unit volume than LPG canisters.“Fishermen’s convertor kits are meant to provide a boost for their economic growth. Household gas pipes as well, many poor people live in cities,” said Golkar Party lawmaker and former governor Alex Noerdin.Indonesia’s largest gas distributor, Perusahaan Gas Negara (PGN) , was not available for comment.Renewables programGreen technology budget cuts were led by those in solar panel-related programs, such as solar-powered street lights and solar rooftop installations for public buildings, including government offices and houses of worship.Government funding is a lifeline for the nascent domestic solar PV industry, which receives 70 percent of its business through state programs, an Indonesian Solar Panel Producers Association (APAMSI) previously told the Post.“That automatically means that a shift in spending will add to the burden on solar producers,” said APAMSI chairman Nick Nurrachman.Read also: Demand for photovoltaic panels plummets in Indonesia amid pandemicHowever, ministry data also shows that Rp 109 million was allocated to complete several unfinished renewable energy programs from last year. Programs include installing a mini hydropower plant (PLTMH) in Oksibil, Papua, and 13 biogas digesters, which process organic waste, such as human feces into cooking gas, in neighborhoods around the country.Internal programsThe ministry plans to cut 15 percent from its budget for internal programs, which is the most modest cut among the four categories.“We recommend diverting work trips and meeting package funds for infrastructure programs and imposing efficiency measures for work trips and meetings,” said ministry secretary-general Ego Syahrial during Wednesday’s hearing.His side will not cut salaries and operational costs such as utilities and office supplies.Geological programsBudget cuts to the ministry’s geology body were led by a 48 percent cut for volcanic observatories and a 37 percent cut for well drilling in remote communities.Former head of the Geology Agency, Rudi Suhendar, who retired a month ago, told the Post that the agency had completed the program bids before COVID-19 struck.“Aside from Jakarta, we were going to drill wells in almost every province,” he said. Lawmaker Ridwan Hisjam, also a Golkar politician, said the well drilling was particularly needed to support the Public Works and Housing Ministry, which was building water infrastructure as per the recently passed 2019 Water Law.“This program has to keep on going. Do not change them; programs that are pro-people, that are in the people’s interest,” he said.Topics :last_img read more


The Pokemon-chasing gamer has grown up.

first_imgWhile tattoos are nothing new in the NRL, McQueen is one of the more colourfully adorned athletes in the Telstra Premiership and in the off-season had five different Dragon Ball Z pieces of artwork added to his body.But when the squad assembled for a gruelling two-day Army camp a fortnight ago it was McQueen who announced himself as an emerging leader at the club and mentally ready to accept the responsibilities that come with it.”There’s a time and a place for everything,” McQueen told NRL.com.”When we’re off the clock I can still be the gamer and have some fun and be the joker but as soon as it’s time to go and time to train I think I can flick the switch and get serious pretty quickly.”It’s probably taken a couple of years because at the Rabbitohs there was a pretty strong senior playing group.”I came through at the time when we had Roy Asotasi, Michael Crocker, John Sutton was there the whole time I was there, we had Greg Inglis, we had the Burgess boys so I didn’t necessarily have to be that leader.”Coming back this year we’ve lost ‘Birdy’ (Greg Bird), we’ve lost ‘Friendy’ (Nathan Friend), we’ve lost Luke Douglas so being one of the older guys in the team and one of the more senior guys, that leadership role was something I was looking forward to and something that I really wanted.”When NRL.com caught up with McQueen it was 12 months to the day that he had begun with his new teammates after the return of Sam Burgess to Redfern forced the Rabbitohs to shed some excess stock.It caught McQueen off guard to a degree but he says now that he wanted to develop into a leader on the Gold Coast after he first earned the trust and respect of his fellow Titans.”It’s something that I knew when I first came up here but I still felt like I had to earn that respect and earn my stripes,” McQueen said of his leadership aspirations.”I had to do my time. I didn’t know a lot of the boys when I came up here so I had to earn that respect.”I think I started to be that leader late last year so coming back this year I knew that it was time to stand up and be that leader.”It’s only my second year here but compared to a lot of the younger guys that have come in I’ve been here longer than a few of those boys.”As a senior player and given that it’s my ninth year in first grade I think that sort of thing just happens naturally.”Although he perhaps took a few weeks to find his groove in the Titans team, the 29-year-old was just one of four Gold Coast players to appear in every game in 2016 and played a key role in their pursuit of a finals berth.The six-time Queensland representative got better with each game he played and will go into the Christmas break in perhaps the best condition both mentally and physically in his 141-game career.”The Gold Coast is a more relaxed lifestyle compared to Sydney and I just needed that change,” said McQueen.”I was in the South Sydney organisation for so long and I needed that change and it has refreshed me, helped to change my game a little bit and relaxed me.”There was a mix of apprehension and excitement and optimism [12 months ago]. The club’s obviously been through quite a few ups and downs over the last couple of years but last year and this year again we’ve added some quality players and some players who have got a lot of experience and can do some good things.”The excitement and the optimism outweighs everything else.”last_img read more