Gerindra faction: Four principles on food security in 2021 Draft State Budget

Chairman of the Great Indonesia Movement ( Gerakan Indonesia Raya - “Gerindra”) Faction of the House of Representatives, Ahmad Muzani. (Photo: Rayi Gigih/IO)

IO – The Gerindra Party faction in the DPR highlights the government’s policy on food security development, prioritized in the 2021 Draft State Budget (RAPBN). There are four important notes from Gerindra for next year’s RAPBN. Chairman of the Gerindra faction in the Parliament Ahmad Muzani said that the government has set “Acceleration of Economic Recovery and Strengthening Reform” as the theme of fiscal policy for 2021. In the 2021 RAPBN, the government adds the focus of development to seven points, namely, health, education, development of information and communication technology, infrastructure development, food security, support for social protection and tourism development. 

“The Gerindra faction expects that the fifth focus on food security will be one of the sustainable implementations of the development direction in the 2020-2024 development plan,” said Muzani, while conveying his faction’s general view on the 2021 State Budget Bill with its Financial Memorandum at the Parliament plenary meeting, Tuesday (25/08/2020). 

Muzani added that food sovereignty requires fulfilment of our own needs through domestic agricultural self-sufficiency. This includes ensuring the availability of production facilities and ensuring the sale of crops at a reasonable price. “For the Gerindra Party faction, farmers, planters, breeders, fishermen, cultivators, and salt farmers are food fighters who must be respected and protected,” said Muzani. 

Meanwhile, Gerindra Faction member in Parliamentary Committee XI Heri Gunawan said there were four important principles for the government to consider, regarding the 2020 State Budget, consisting of taxation sector revenue estimated at IDR 1,481.9 trillion, non-tax state revenue (PNBP) which is targeted to grow negatively by 0.2 percent to IDR 293.5 trillion, plus grants of IDR 0.9 trillion. The Gerindra Party faction views the state revenue target as still very moderate as in the previous year, even though amid the government’s incessant expansionary-consolidative fiscal policy, revenue can be optimally spurred, so that it does not always depend on financing from loans and debt. 

Second, guidance on the state expenditure target in the 2021 Draft State Budget, amounting to IDR 2,747.5 trillion. The Gerindra faction explicitly asks the government to continue to improve state financial governance to be more accountable, effective, and efficient, as designed based on the money-follows-program principle. By doing so, it is hoped that there will be an increase in the quality of spending at the central level, which is planned for IDR 1,951.3 trillion, as well as transfers to the regions and Village Funds for which IDR 796.3 trillion will be allocated. “The state expenditure target of that size must be implemented following the government’s development priorities and targets,” he stressed. 

Third, regarding the budget allocation for transfer expenditures to regions and Village Funds that are planned to total IDR 796.2 trillion, the Gerindra Party faction encourages the government to emphasize its use to improve the quality of human resources in the regions. Gerindra hopes that the implementation of the Village Fund in the 2021 RAPBN, which is budgeted at IDR 72 trillion, can be used to encourage the independence and welfare of rural communities. Fourth, an expansionary-consolidative fiscal policy to cover the 2021 State Budget deficit, which will be carried out by financing debt of IDR 1,142.5 trillion. “The Gerindra faction explicitly asks the government to be more careful in managing Government Bonds (SBN) and foreign ownership in SBN, because they are acutely vulnerable to market volatility,” he concluded. 

A researcher from the Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef), Rusli Abdullah, suggested that food security is a concern for the government of Joko Widodo in the posture of the 2021 Draft State Budget. The President (Jokowi) said that the problem of food security is a concern for the government, because on paper it is clearly stipulated. Our economic theory must first be fixed on agriculture, then new industries to services. Rusli explained that a country that has a good agricultural base will not suffer such a deep recession. An example happened in Indonesia. 

According to him, the government assesses the importance of supporting the agricultural sector, as a savior of the national economy. He also pointed out that Singapore, as a developed country without land or a good agricultural climate, has experienced a deep recession. Singapore’s economic growth in the second quarter of 2020 contracted 42.9 percent compared to the first quarter of 2020. Meanwhile, compared to the same period last year, the country’s economy was minus 13.2 percent. “Singapore has minus a dozen percent, while Indonesia, which has a basic agricultural base, has not suffered too deeply because, despite the recession, there is still economic activity. Whether in a war or a crisis, people still need food,” said Rusli. 

Previously, President Jokowi said that the government had budgeted IDR 104.2 trillion in the 2021 Draft State Budget for food security. The budget was directed at encouraging food commodity production by building infrastructure and the use of technology, revitalizing the national food system by strengthening farmer and fisherman corporations, food distribution, as well as developing large-scale food estates to increase food productivity. (dan)