The Jakarta Post
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said the government had distributed up to Rp 400 trillion (US$26.4 billion) in infrastructure funds this year to help empower villages, but that impact would be minimal if local administrations did not improve their bureaucracy.
Technology, Jokowi said, was key to enhancing local bureaucracies and thus urged 7,000 government and administration officials — who had gathered for a village-empowerment convention in Bali — to keep up to date with recent innovations such as artificial intelligence, robotics, big data, virtual reality and cryptocurrency.
“Local administrations should use technology to develop a more efficient administrative system, so it would be easier to control and monitor these development programs,” Jokowi said on Friday.
He also reminded his audience that the Industry 4.0 automation and digitalization era had begun as of early last year.
Jokowi said the government had done their part in empowering villages by having quadrupled the infrastructure budget from Rp 160 trillion in 2014 and was currently looking into increasing the operational fund for villages and sub districts.
“Our challenge is to ensure that these funds hit their mark,” he said.
Jokowi’s emphasis on the improvement of local administration reflects growing evidence suggesting that the inefficiency of local administrations was responsible for limiting the impact of central government development programs.
A case in point, a 2017 study by Smeru Research Institute found that most district administrations had a poor understanding of economic inequality and were unable to calculate policy impact. As a result, Indonesia’s Gini index — a figure used to measure inequality — decreased from 0.41 in 2014 to only 0.39 this year instead of the government target of 0.34. (brf)