Tito Summa Siahaan
Spending by gubernatorial candidates on T-shirts, business cards and banners has benefited entrepreneurs such as Mohammad Shodiq Ris’at, the owner of Bolan Mandiri, a small design and printing company, in Senen, Central Jakarta.
“I got an order to make 500 T-shirts from Foke,” Shodiq said, referring to incumbent Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo.
Shodiq, who earns Rp 100 million ($10,600) a month at his business, raked in Rp 12 million in orders from one candidate.
As the race intensified in the past few of months, money raised from orders for T-shirts and other items by candidates and political parties to support their respective candidates could reach billions of rupiah, according to one estimate.
Spending by the six teams of candidates — as well as by government agencies like the Jakarta General Elections Commission (KPUD) — prior to and during the gubernatorial race in Jakarta has helped revive economic activity in the nation’s capital.
The two-week election campaign prior to Wednesday’s election saw a huge sum of money being splashed around by the candidates.
According to the KPUD, total spending by the six gubernatorial candidates was valued at Rp 143.3 billion.
Spending by Fauzi, at Rp 62.6 billion, was the highest. Solo Mayor Joko Widodo, or Jokowi, was second at Rp 27.5 billion.
The budgets for the other four candidates ranged from Rp 3 billion to Rp 22 billion each.
The KPUD itself has an overall budget of Rp 258 billion.
Spending — including that by the KPUD and candidates for banners, campaign activities, and promotions in print and electronic media — escalated to Rp 1 trillion.
Spending on advertising has a multiplier effect that includes costs for materials such as paper for flyers.
Candidates also typically spend money on rallies, handouts and leaflets to supporters and potential voters, as well as hiring third-party vendors to set up platforms and speakers.
Adrinof Chaniago, a political analyst at the University of Indonesia, said the amount of campaign spending could have a modest impact on the economy.
“Advertising, especially in television, does not come cheap,” he added.
Television advertising fees can reach as high as Rp 90 million per minute depending on the time slot.
“The real amount of spending far exceeded the official figure,” Andrinof said.
Economists such as Andry Asmoro at Bank Mandiri said that big events like the general election would give a lift to economic activity in the country.
Andry did not provide specific details on the impact of such activities.
Spending of almost Rp 1 trillion would still be well below 1 percent of the gross regional domestic product, which stands at Rp 261 trillion.
By comparison, though, the money added to the economy would far exceed the Rp 71 billion set aside to help small- and medium-sized companies last year, not to mention the Rp 5 billion for women and children’s protection in Jakarta.
According to data from Jakarta’s government, its provincial budget was Rp 26.8 trillion in 2011, and it is targeted to hit Rp 36 trillion this year.
The gubernatorial election in Jakarta is seen by analysts as a possible preview for the country’s political parties ahead of the presidential election in 2014.
With additional reporting by Muhamad Al-Azhari