JAKARTA (8 Aug 2011) – The organizers of the SEA Games 2011 must start counting their pennies as the next bundle of government cash they receive will be the last.
Agung Laksono, the coordinating minister for people’s welfare, delivered the news this week that the SEA Games organizing committee (Inasoc) and the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs would not receive more than the IDR 700 billion (USD82.6 million) pledged by the Finance Ministry.
“It’s the final decision, so we have to use the cash wisely,” said Djoko Pekik, the secretary of the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs.
“However, Minister Agung promised to send a letter to the finance minister (Agus Martowardojo) asking him to give special treatment to the SEA Games budget so Inasoc can get the money as soon as possible.
“Usually, the Finance Ministry distributes the money as soon as 45 days after a project’s budget is approved by the government. We hope to get the money faster because this is an urgent project.”
Inasoc chairwoman Rita Subowo said she was disappointed but believed the biennial regional games would still be a success.
“The SEA Games will go on according to plan. We’ll make do with the limited budget,” Rita said.
Total spending by the central government on the SEA Games since 2009 will be about IDR 1.7 trillion (USD 200 million), just more than half the originally proposed IDR 3.1 trillion (USD364 million).
Rita said Inasoc is still working to get more sponsors in order to cover the budget gap. Right now three companies — flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, electronics firm Panasonic Gobel Indonesia and Indofood Sukses Makmur — have signed to be the main sponsors of the Games.
In an ominous sign, South Sumatra is still scrambling to finish building seven venues with just 98 days before the Games begin. Three of them — the aquatics center, athletics stadium and shooting range — look unlikely to make next month’s deadline, while the roller-skating, wall-climbing, softball and baseball venues appear to be on schedule.
Rizal Abdullah, head of the province’s public works office, said everything would be finished on time.
“We’re trying to finish them by the middle of September so some venues can stage test events in October,” Rizal said.
Workers at the aquatics center in Jakabaring Sports City have been working double shifts, he said, as they race to finish the diving tower and set up a new knock-down pool.
“All the materials are already here. We’re still waiting for an expert from Italy to assist us setting up the pool. He’s scheduled to come next week. It takes five weeks to get the pool done,” Rizal said.
However, Prambanan Dwipaka, a contractor helping build the aquatics, athletics and shooting venues, said the local government had not followed through with its funding pledges.
“The three venues cost more than IDR 300 billion (USD 35 million). We’ve been spending IDR 100 billion (USD 11.7 million) from our coffers and IDR 23.1 billion (USD 2.7 million) from the venue’s sponsors, such as Pusri (Pupuk Sriwidjaja) and a local bank,” added Endang Hidayat, the project coordinator.
“The South Sumatra government has been saying they will give us the money, but we haven’t received any yet.” Despite the funding problems, Endang said the construction would continue and be done on time.
Most venues in Jakarta, which will co-host the Games with Palembang from 11-22 November 2011, are already in place and only need minor renovations.
Work on Gelora Bung Karno Stadium began this week as workers began changing out the turf.
Stadium management and development director Mahfudin Nigara said the pitch would be ready before the stadium hosted an exhibition match between AC Milan Glorie and the Indonesia All-Star Legends on 4 Sept 2011.
“Actually we were planning to do a major overhaul of the stadium, especially after it was used for the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup. But we don’t have enough cash, so we’re just fixing the turf and changing the grass,” Mahfudin said.
Indonesia will host the Games for the first time since 1997.
SOURCE: Jakarta Post