Governor Ahok to use e-money to defeat Jakarta’s hoodlums

In his war against hoodlums, who have for decades controlled the lucrative parking and street vendor business in Jakarta, Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama launched on Thursday an electronic-payment system for parking, street vendors and microentrepreneurs operating on sidewalks and city facilities.

  • hoodlum – a criminal, esp. one who is a member of a group
  • lucrative – producing much money or making a large profit

The country’s giant banks, Bank Mandiri, BCA, BNI and BRI, are enthusiastic about participating in Ahok’s program as they see it as promising business and it is also in line with the National Non-Cash Movement (GNNT). Bank Mega and Bank DKI are also participating. The city administration also launched on the same day an electronic payment system for parking meters on Jl. Agus Salim, popularly known as Jl. Sabang, in Central Jakarta.

The new system will only accept payment via e-money cards issued by the aforementioned six banks, replacing coins, starting next week. Coins were still accepted this week to give motorists time to adjust to the new system.

  • aforementioned – written in an earlier sentence or page

Ahok was optimistic the e-payment system for parking and street vendors would boost the city’s locally generated income as well as its gross domestic product (GDP).

“The [e-payment] system will help boost the city’s GDP and help provide [low interest] loans [for street vendors],” Ahok said in his speech during the ceremony.

Transportation Agency parking division head Sunardi Sinaga said that potential income from on-street parking in the city had reached Rp 400 billion per year.

“The city administration could generate Rp 100 billion from parking while operators get Rp 300 billion to pay parking attendants’ salaries,” he told reporters.

Ahok said he would oblige parking meter operator PT Mata Biru to pay parking attendants twice the capital’s minimum wage, currently Rp 2.7 million. Ahok further said the city planned to apply the non-cash transaction system in all public-service sectors. The city aimed to install more parking meters in different locations, including 90 in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta, and 13 on Jl. Falatehan in South Jakarta.

Meanwhile, in the street-vendor system, vendors are required to obtain debit cards with city-owned lender Bank DKI. The vendors would be charged Rp 90,000 (US$7.13) a month or about Rp 3,000 a day, automatically withdrawn from their accounts on the 15th day of each month.

According to the governor, the new system is expected to prevent illegal levies and corruption.

  • levies – an amount of money, such as a tax, that you have to pay to a government or organization

“Prior to this system, vendors were often asked for additional fees from individuals who claim to be city officials. They paid more than Rp 600,000 a month. This new system will prevent illegal levies because vendors will know exactly how much to pay,” Ahok said on Thursday during the symbolic launch of the new system at the Gunung Sahari fish market in Central Jakarta.

Ahok stressed that the city did not seek to collect money from street vendors but to guarantee the vendors’ safety and to prevent thugs from collecting illegal levies from the vendors.

  • thugs – a man who acts violently, esp. a criminal

“We hope to fully implement this system by the end of 2015,” said the governor.

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