Rabu, 16 Desember 2009

Urging Bureaucratic Reform in Jakarta

Jakarta Post on 21 August 2009 wrote that Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo have stated that his administration and businesspeople need to change their approach in order to make Jakarta as a service city. Following that, Fauzi Bowo pledged to forge the administration more accountable and transparent.

What the governor has promised should be appreciated and supported. However, the most important thing is that this initiative ought to be implemented as soon as possible. The sooner the better. Delaying the measure is likely to jeopardize business climate and weaken fighting against graft.

Healthy business environment needs the government's woos. Yet, it is undoubtedly true that bureaucracy in Indonesia does not condone business needs in providing fast and easy services.

The 2008 global competitiveness report launched by World Economic Forum on competitiveness ranked Indonesia at 55th out of 134 countries. It means that the country is quite unattractive for business activities. Indonesia's competitiveness has been weakened due to corrupt practices and bureaucratic inefficiency (KPK, 2009).

Talking on corruption, according to Transparency International’s CPI in 2006, 2007 and 2008, it seems that Indonesia remains one of the most corrupt country. The country ranks 130 among 163 countries surveyed in 2006, and ranks 143 among 179 countries surveyed at the subsequent year. However, although Indonesia managed to reach higher position at 126 among 180 states surveyed in 2008, it is still not sufficient due to some ASEAN countries are better in combatting corruption, such as Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia. Those surveys are lucidly showing that investors are more likely to spend their capital on those three neighbouring countries than in Indonesia.

Moreover, the Regional Autonomy Monitoring Committee (KPPOD) in 2007 found a fact. It states that businesspeople face complicated procedures, long time lags and high costs in obtaining business permits. Actually, the finding is not so surprising as it is a common practice in some public service sectors.

Dealing with bureaucracy means that companies have to spend much time and money in order to obtain licenses to operate business in Indonesia. The World Bank has calculated that in Indonesia it takes an average of 151 days to complete all the paperwork required to start a company, against 30 in Malaysia and eight in Singapore. The relevant permits cost 131% of Indonesia's average annual income per head, compared with 20% in the Philippines and 7% in Thailand.

Another survey conducted by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in 2008 on public sector integrity gives an indication that government officials remain practicing corrupt attitudes. On the other hand, although there are already mechanisms to control corruption, they are unable to create corruption-free conditions. The survey also placed Jakarta in 38 of 52 local governments surveyed. It shows that systems and environments supporting transparency and professionalism of Jakarta public service officers are still poor.

On account of those evidence, bureaucratic reform is the urgent way in terms of obtaining a clean and transparent state institutions, particularly in Jakarta city administration. Reforming Jakarta bureaucratic system is an essential attempt since the city is a place where virtually businesspeople process business permits and run their enterprises. In this case, it is a must to make Jakarta as a business-friendly city by managing good governance.

Aspects of the Reform

Bureaucratic reform is a sustainable and holistic effort. It consists of reforming all structures within the government's organizations. Hence, there are some aspects which should be considered in conducting bureaucratic reform.

Firstly, each institutions in the government should have clear vision and mission. Then, creates activity plans which are correlated directly with the achievement of both vision and mission.

In addition, it is very important for the government to develop innovative strategies on enhancing the achievement of its vision and mission. Innovative strategies are needed to boost the quality of public services and avoid the state officials doing only usual daily activities.

Secondly, the government employees must have appropriate ability in order to carry out successfully their tasks. In other words, professionalism is the basic competence for the state officials. Right staffs on the right positions.

Thirdly, improving human resources management system, from recruiting, remuneration, training, promoting to retiring procedures. Remuneration, for instance, should be raised with consideration that it must be based on capacity and performance. In relation with this term, reward and punishment must be applied. On the other hand, recruitment system must be conducted in transparent and fairness way so that the government could get the best candidates.

Furthermore, the organizations must produce code of conduct. Parallel with this effort, a committee must be established within each organizations to scrutinize whether the government employees break the conduct or not.

Eventually, empowering supervisory units to monitor the business process of the institutions. It is also in order to ensure the activities within the organizations remain on track.

The reform should be done with profound commitment. It needs strong political will. Jakarta Governor has cited that reforming bureaucracy requires more than just lip service. To our mind, it is obviously true. Consequently, Fauzi Bowo has to prove to Jakarta citizens, especially businesspeople, that he is considerably serious in reforming his administration.

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