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Thursday, 20 January, 2000, 12:26 GMT
Cash for Indonesian trouble spots

aceh violence Resentment of Jakarta has fuelled separatist rebellions


By Jakarta Correspondent Richard Galpin

Indonesian Vice-President Megawati Sukarnoputri has unveiled a draft budget which includes plans to increase substantially the amount of money allocated by the government to some of the country's most volatile regions.

Fragile Archipelago
In her budget speech to parliament, Megawati announced that at least four provinces were being singled out for massive increases in funding from the central government.

These include Riau, Aceh and Papua, formerly known as Irian Jaya.

All are rich in natural resources, such as oil, gas and precious metals, but for long they have complained bitterly that they have not benefited at all.

Instead, almost all the revenue has been taken by the government in Jakarta.

Rebellions

The resentment this has caused has been one of the main factors behind the separatist rebellions which have broken out in both Aceh and Papua.

megawati Megawati is also proposing a big pay rise for civil servants


Riau has also threatened to launch its own independence movement.

But now, Aceh and Riau will get an increase of more than 50% in funds from central government.

Jakarta clearly hopes this will help restore stability to Indonesia, which in recent weeks has been rocked by violence in many different areas.

Economic growth

Without political stability, the government knows that there is no chance of reviving the economy which collapsed during the Asian economic crisis.

Despite this, the draft budget paints an optimistic picture, with economic growth projected to increase to up to 4% over the next year.

Amongst the more controversial plans announced by the vice-president is a big increase in the budget allocation for civil servants, who are expected to be awarded a big pay rise if it is approved by parliament.

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See also:
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Troubled history of the Moluccas
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Analysis: Tough times for Indonesia's military
17 Jan 00 |  Asia-Pacific
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Analysis: What provoked Moluccas violence?
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Arms to Indonesia policy defended

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