The Jakarta Post
President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo has instructed that the task of handling matters related to villages across the country be split between the Home Ministry and the Villages, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration Ministry amid differences of opinion between the two institutions over which has the authority to oversee villages.
Jokowi's instruction was issued after a limited Cabinet meeting at the Presidential Office on Tuesday morning, during which input was given by the two ministers ' Villages, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration Minister Marwan Jafar and Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo.
Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Minister Yuddy Chrisnandi said Jokowi had instructed him, along with the Cabinet Secretariat and the State Secretariat, to follow it up by drafting a presidential decree by the end of this month.
'Those related to administrative matters and governance [of villages] remain under the Home Ministry,' said Yuddy after the meeting, adding that matters related to local civil servants and employment were also the jurisdiction of Tjahjo's office.
'Matters related to the planning of local development programs, including the monitoring and the empowerment of rural communities, are under the village ministry. That's the principles set by the President,' Yuddy added.
According to Yuddy, the village ministry will soon to form a directorate general to manage those tasks, while the existing village empowerment directorate general at the Home Ministry will be revamped as it will no longer oversee village empowerment and development planning.
Yuddy also dismissed speculation that the rivalry was centered around the authority to manage funds earmarked for villages and said it was merely about a difference in opinion over who had the authority to oversee matters related to villages.
The Home Ministry, Yuddy said, had based its argument on the fact that according to the Regional Administrations Law, government affairs should be managed in a uniform manner at all levels, namely the central, provincial, regency, municipal and village levels. While the village ministry referred to the Village Law, which states that matters related to villages were overseen by the ministry in charge of villages.
'The two ministers, the village ministry and the Home Ministry, do not compete for [managing] funds allocated for village programs,' he said, adding that funds earmarked for village development were channeled directly by the Finance Ministry's directorate general of budgetary affairs to the regencies to be later distributed to villages.
Tuesday's meeting was also aimed at ensuring that villages would be actively involved in their development planning.
'It is expected that villages will have [some kind of] added value, instead of merely handling routine matters related to [their] administrations,' he said.
Marwan's office welcomed the result of the meeting, saying his ministry would comply.
'The authority of the village ministry in oversees development and empowerment of villages will not overlap [with the Home Ministry's authority] because the Home Ministry [will] merely handle things related to administrative matters of villages,' Marwan said.
According to Marwan, the village ministry would also help villages draft long-term development plans.
He also vowed that coordination and communication between his office and Tjahjo's would be maintained.
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