Ruslan Sangadji, Palu – The association of provincial governments has lodged a request for a pay raise for governors with Vice President Jusuf Kalla during a national meeting on Thursday in Padang, West Sumatra, claiming "unfairness" because their salaries were lower than that of legislative councilors.
Indonesian Provincial Government Association (APPSI) chairman Longki Djanggola, who is also the Central Sulawesi governor, said a governor had a much heavier workload than a legislative councilor, but that the latter received higher salaries.
"To be honest, I am from a province with a mediocre revenue, but our legislative councilors receive salaries of [up to] Rp 70 million plus transportation allowance and many more [benefits]," said Longki during the ongoing APPSI National Work Meeting, as quoted by kompas.com.
"As a result, we can see that many regional heads have become involved in graft cases. We are [raising this issue] so the central government also knows [that] our salary is very small," he said.
A provincial governor receives a basic monthly salary of Rp 3 million (US$213.17), while a deputy governor receives Rp 2.4 million.
Presidential Decree No. 68/2001 on allowances for officials stipulates monthly allowances of Rp 5.4 million for governors and Rp 4.32 million for deputy governors.
In addition, governors and deputy governors receive operational allowances at a certain percentage of the region's income as regulated in a presidential instruction. Governors and deputy governors may use their operational allowance to support their work, but they are not required to submit a financial report.
They also receive additional benefits, like official cars and residences.
This means the governor and deputy governor of a province like Jakarta could receive gross salaries of up to Rp 4.5 billion. Meanwhile, the governor and deputy governor of South Sulawesi could receive monthly salaries of Rp 458 million, or an annual income of Rp 5.5 billion.For example, Central Sulawesi's provincial income was Rp 1.34 trillion in 2015. This means the monthly operational allowance for the governor and the deputy governor would be calculated at 0.15 percent of the provincial revenue, or Rp 166 million.
Central Kalimantan regional secretary Fahrizal Fitri said the request for a raise was not unusual, as governors' salaries had not been increased for some time.
"According to APPSI, a governor has a greater workload than that of a city councilor. It is therefore natural that a raise in governors' salaries has been requested," Fahrizal said on Thursday in Palangka Raya, Central Kalimantan, as quoted by Antara news agency.
He also said that Central Kalimantan's 2019 regional budget was sufficient to accommodate a salary hike for its provincial heads if the President approved the request.
"The gubernatorial budget is allocated separately. If it is still inadequate, it can be increased in a revised budget," he added.
Separately, Central Sulawesi Legislative Council chair Muharram Nurdin also said the request was sensible, considering the heavy and complex workload of governors. Moreover, the relevant regulation was enacted decades ago, so it did not reflect the needs of today's economy.
"Our currency is weak, which affects the price of daily needs. It is simply natural that the governors want a raise," he told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
Muharram added that the salary increase would not hurt public perception of social justice because legislators, as the people's representatives, understood the scope of a regional head's responsibilities. "We have to be objective in reviewing their request," he said.
Financial Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said last year that she was reviewing a possibility of revising the remuneration scheme for regional heads to prevent corruption.
"We are conducting the study, and we have also apprised [the] President, because [he] is equally focused on all remuneration, especially for regional officials," she said as quoted in kompas.com.
"We are [also] studying how much to raise salaries to prevent corruption," she said at the time, although she did not mention when the study would be completed. (gis)