Govt ‘fails’ to Control Population Growth

W

eak government policies on population growth through family planning programs have accounted for the uncontrolled population growth in Indonesia since the reform era, which could lead to serious problems in other related areas of life, a scholar said.

Population expert Sri Moertiningsih Adioetomo of the University of Indonesia’s demography institution said earlier this week that the country’s annual population growth was equal to the total population of Singapore.

“If every year we have 4.5 million new births, who will be able to feed them and provide them with job opportunities a few years ahead?” Sri Moertiningsih told a press conference organized by Advanced Family Planning (AFP) Indonesia in Yogyakarta.

She blamed the high rate of population growth on a combination of overall improvements in health services and weakening government policy on the matter during the reform era.

Before the reform era, she said, the government implemented family planning programs in centralized ways. However, since laws on regional autonomy were implemented, the central government no longer controlled the programs, as they were transferred to the authority of regional administrations.

“There are many housewives currently who do not even know what family planning is,” she said, underlining the need for heads of regional administrations to adopt a serious commitment toward implementing family planning programs.

The 2010 census revealed that Indonesia had a population of 237.56 million, higher than the predictions made by the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), National Development Planning Board (Bappenas) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), of 234 million.

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