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Bali's Recovery Funds Largely Expended

An Interview from the Bali Post with Thamrin B. Bachri, the Director General of Marketing for the Ministry of Culture and Tourism on Bali's Recovery Funds.

(9/15/2006) Against the background of the much-debated distribution and final use of the Rp. 67 billion (approximately US$7.3 million) allocated by Jakarta for the recovery of Bali's tourism industry, the Monday, September 11, 2006 edition of the Indonesian language Bali Post carried an interview with the Director General of Marketing for the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Thamrin R. Bachri.

Bachri prefaced his interview with the Bali Post by acknowledging that the Rp. 67 billion recovery fund allocated for Bali is a matter of popular debate with recent "unsubstantiated" reports suggesting that only 11% of those funds have been employed to date.

According to Bachri, the Rp. 67 billion recovery fund will be almost completed expended by December 2006, with 75-80 percent of the Bali Recovery Funds already expended. Because of this, Bachri admitted he was astonished by reports suggesting that only 11% of the recovery funds have been utilized.

The Interview

Bali Post: (Regarding the recovery funds allocation) the members of the travel industry are asking about its disposition.

Bachri: There's no need to confused, they should directly ask the provincial government about this subject. The Bali Tourism Authority (dinas pariwsata) and the private sector members who are represented in the Bali Tourism Board (BTB) will certainly know more about these funds, Remember, all of the Bali recovery programs were formulated by these people (editor: provincial government and the BTB) and then recommended to the Central Government. After that, we carried forth with the implementation of their proposals.

Bali Post: What were the results?

Bachri: A program in accordance with their (editor: provincial government and the BTB's) recommendations. Later, we jointly implemented these programs. And, we have proof of that fact. For example, the road show to Vietnam, a number of festivals held in Bali, and sponsoring tour operator and journalist trips to see Bali firsthand. There are many other programs as well. We'll also stage an Indonesia Night in Hong Kong (editor: At PATA Mart 2007 September 15, 2006) all designed to aid the recovery of Bali.

Bali Post: Gosh, why all these "programs"? Why not merely provide cash, for instance, to build a "recovery monument" or for the use of the people of Bali?

Bachri: Understand, the recovery funds should not be viewed a ripe durian fruit that's fallen from a tree that can be evenly divided and distributed; this is even more the case when the desired expenditure is for an unclear end.

Bali Post: Up until the present, members of the Bali travel industry have spent Rp. 23 billion (approximately US$2.5 million) of their money for Bali's recovery.

Bachri: I know nothing of this and it is not the responsibility of my department. Remember, if something is not in the approved program proposed to the Central Government by the provincial government and the private sector then such expenditures are not our concern.