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Brother, Can You Spare me a Dime?

Economic Data Reveals that Bali's Poor Getting a Smaller Share of the Benefits of an Expanding Economy.

(7/2/2007) Significant improvements in the economy of Bali are widening the gap between the wealthy and the poor and bringing few improvements in the living condition of the Island's poor.

According to the head of the consumer spending section of Bali's Central Statistic Bureau (BPS), Didik Nursetyohadi, "the poor are enjoying the fruits of development, but not to the degree of the rich."

Quoted in the Indonesian language Republika On-Line, Nursetyohadi's comments were made at a Bank Indonesia seminar on interpreting financial statistics held in Bali on June 25, 2007.

In reviewing current economic results for Bali, the first quarter of 2007 saw economic growth of 0.8% - a significant improvement over the previous year when tourist numbers were down following the Island's latest terrorist attack. Current growth is fueled by improving arrival figures which feed Bali's largest industry of tourism.

Purchasing Power

BPS reports that the average increase in purchasing power of the people of Bali stood at 109.4% in the first quarter of 2006. When broken down into economic sub-sectors, however, the purchasing power of the wealthy was measured at 126.5%, the middle-class at 103% and the poor declining standing at only 89.6%.

Historical data from the BPS states that between the years 1993-2006 Bali's poor enjoyed a greater share of economic development when their purchasing power exceeded 100% in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999.

Hit hard by the Asian economic crisis, the "rich: in Bali saw their purchasing power decrease to 94.3% in 1999. But, explained Nursetyohadi, the wealthier classes in Bali have made a rapid recovery and now enjoy a greater share of economic advances."

At the seminar, Raga Nugraha, a staff member from the Bali Bank Indonesia branch said that while Bali's economy is experiencing strong growth, the nature of that growth is having little positive impact on providing equable benefits to every socio-economic strata of local society or in generating significant employment opportunities.