Pekanbaru, Riau, 11 March 2005 — A senior government official proposed on Wednesday that the Riau ForestFire Management Agency be declared an autonomous entity.
“We don’t have our own budget, which makesus reliant upon government budgetary funds for our operational expenses. If theagency is set up as an autonomous body and has access to our own funds, we willbe able to work faster and more efficiently,” said Wan Abubakar, the chiefof the agency.
Forest fires have been a problem in Riau province for many years,especially during the dry season, leading to haze problems. The agency hasspearheaded efforts to put out the fires.