Bali Post reports that the Government is expected to increase fuel prices sometime shortly after May 23, 2008, once details of a direct cash relief program are agreed. The Government's plans were confirmed by the Coordinating Minister for the People's Welfare, Aburizal Bakrie, following a Cabinet meeting held in Jakarta on May 14, 2008.
Bakrie explained, "the announcement on fuel price increases will occur shortly after the President is satisfied with the direct cash relief program which will be submitted to him on May 23rd."
Bakrie said that the cards that will control the direct cash relief program will go to the printers on May 22nd and will be distributed by the Postal Department to provincial governments and local governments for presentation to low-income households.
Indonesia's Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Purnomo Yusgiantoro, admitted growing unrest in the public in connection with plans to increase fuel costs and, in some instances, has resulted in a scarcity of fuel supplies in some areas of the Country.
Purnomo blamed cases of public discontent on various causes, including speculative purchasing of limited fuel stocks. Minister Purnomo said the Government is taking steps to strengthen fuel stocks and frustrate the efforts of hoarders.
Following the same Cabinet meeting, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Boediono, said the Government would not act hastily in increasing fuel costs, ensuring that any hike does not overburden the poor.
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