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Call to Finalize the Use of Visa Fees

Parliament calls on Government to Legalize Distribution of Visa Fees.

(4/11/2005) Indonesia's parliamentarians have called on the Department of Culture and Tourism, the Department of Justice and Human Rights, and the Department of Foreign Affairs to finalize the legislative rules governing the disbursement of funds being collected from the Visa-on-Arrival (VoA) facility now in operation at all major international gateways.

Quoted in the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia, Ferdiansyah, who serves as the coordinator of the Finance Committee of Commission X of the Parliament (DPR), said it is now urgent that the legislative rules on the VoA be finalized. "We hope the implementing regulations can be finished this year in order that by 2006 a significant change can be affected in the Department of Culture and Tourism's budget."

Complaining that in the past tourism budget increases have been only incremental reflecting the rate of inflation, Ferdinasyah hope that the funds collected from visa fees will be used to cover at least one-third of the estimated more than US$100 million needed for a fully-funded promotional budget.

Based on estimates provided by the Department of Immigration some US$35.6 million was collected in 2004 from visa-on-arrival processing.

Sapta Niwwandar, Secretary of the Department of Culture and Tourism confirmed separately that discussions are underway between his department, immigration and the Department of Finance on how the funds collected from the VoA should be distributed.

Nirwandar underlined the need for additional funds in order to meet the target of 6 million foreign tourists in 2006.