By Vira R Ramelan
On 31 January 2017, Komite Pemantauan Pelaksanaan Otonomi Daerah (KPPOD), with support from KSI, organised a media discussion to disseminate the findings of its latest study on Regional Economic Governance 2016, a ranking survey on 32 provincial capitals throughout Indonesia. Held in Jakarta, the event was well attended by some 50 participants from government, the media, NGOs and research. Ir R. Aryawan Soetiarso Poetro, the Director of the Regional Autonomy of Bappenas, Anton J. Supit, the Deputy Chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) and Petrarca Karetji, a KSI Team Leader, also attended the event.
Using selected variables related to areas under the domain of regional government authority and business needs and interests, the study showed that Pontianak is ranked highest, while Medan is ranked lowest for regional economic governance. The study also found that some areas with limited natural resources and a less strategic economic and geographic landscape are relatively successful at improving their economy and public services. Areas categorised as ‘most innovative areas’ rate good governance as the main instrument to increase competitiveness. As well as highly committed leaders, other key defining factors for a successful economy and public services include an effective bureaucracy that is institutionalised in organisations, and strategic focus in the planning, budgeting and implementation of programs and activities.
Some of the inputs and feedback raised during the discussion related mainly to the research methodology and usefulness of this study for better policy making in Indonesia. Bappenas supported the study and suggested it be elaborated to include other critical aspects, such as the capacity of civil servants, policy influencing aspects, quality of expenditure, and the relationship between the National State Budget and regional economic governance. This study has been conducted three times (2007, 2011 and 2016). KSI’s Petrarca Karetji suggested using a longitudinal study method to measure changes over time. Anton J. Supit of KADIN emphasised that good governance should not only contribute to the creation of a conducive environment for investment and increase Indonesia’s competitiveness, it should also benefit poor people. Thus, government policies should not only be populist in nature, but should work to increase people’s welfare.
Robert Endi Jaweng, the Director of KPPOD, said findings of this study would be used as the basis for developing KPPOD programs, including the provision of technical assistance for regions in the lower ranks and promotion for regions in the higher ranks. Findings could also be used by national policy makers to improve regional economic policies and reform the public sector.