Fri, 09 May 2003

E-government helps regional governments revive economy

Fitri Wulandari, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The application of an integrated information system in public sector, or known as e-government concept, can help regional governments boost revenues, as simplified administration procedures can save costs and promote a more efficient and transparent business climate, a necessary condition to lure investors.

"It helps in many things. It increases transparency, simplifies procedures and reduces all the hustle and bustle investors must do when doing a business," said Giri S. Hadihardjono, chairman of the Indonesian Information and Communication Society (Mastel) at a conference on Thursday.

At the Indonesian International Telecommunication Media and Information Technology Exhibition and Conference, the administrations of Batam Island and Takalar regency (in South Sulawesi) were praised for their success in the application of information and communication technology in improving public services.

Batam has been developing a one-stop-service concept in issuing permits and civil records for its citizens and businesses (called UPT) since last year. It has also developed a visitor registration system (called DALDUK) for foreign visitors.

Citizens and companies in Batam can get 18 types of civil records and permits ranging from family registration card, marriage certificate and divorce certificate to a building development permit, trading business permit and billboard installation permit under the one roof.

While DALDUK helps the government in registering visitors who come to and from the island. The system is placed in every entry point such as seaports and airports.

Alex Rusli, a researcher with Systemic Group who is studying Batam's two e-government projects, said the government has started to see the benefits of having such a computerized information system.

"They said it is easier now to track visitors, to provide detailed profiles of Batam citizens for investors, and to project regional demand," Alex told The Jakarta Post.

Investors, Alex said, particularly telecommunication business, was benefited with the system. It provides information on Batam's consumer profiles.

Takalar is a story of a region that has managed to improve public services and even increase its revenue despite lack of industrial and natural resources.

Former Takalar regent Zainal Abidin had initiated the idea of 'one-stop-service' to provide fast and efficient public service. Called as SIMTAP, it integrated representatives of all agencies and departments whose tasks were providing public services.

People of Takalar can access services in one process starting from registration, filling in requirements, paying fees and issuance of their desired permit.

All data required for the issue of permits were stored in one database, accessible to officials in-charge of the process, and their superiors, as well as to third parties, such as NGOs, journalists, public and potential investors.

Zainal said, the application of SIMTAP in 2000 had increased public awareness to comply with the government's regulation.

The number of processed applications for permits and ID cards had increased by 250 percent from the previous year level, he said.

The increased permit applications has generated additional revenue of Rp 800 million more than the initial investment to setting up the system of Rp 350 million.

This is because SIMTAP reduced the high-cost economy of doing backdoor deals which happened in the past when registering for permits and ID cards.

Realizing the potential of e-government, the government is now preparing a road map for its implementation nationwide.

Djoko Agung, the assistant deputy for E-Government Development Affairs said the road map aims to develop a nationwide network that links regional and central governments.