Sat, 03 Jun 2000

Fund established for reform projects

JAKARTA (JP): In a bid to boost the process of economic and social reforms in Indonesia, the government and several foreign institutions have established an organization to help fund various reform projects.

Some US$50 million in grants is eventually expected to be made available.

The governing board of Partnership for Governance Reform held its inaugural meeting here on Friday to appoint Minister of Settlement and Regional Development Erna Witoelar and Muslim scholar Nurcholish Madjid as co-chairs.

"The partnership was established to support this country's efforts through the creation of a coherent framework within which all development partners can contribute to reform," Erna said.

Erna said the board was established to disburse donated funds.

The founding members of the partnership are the United Nations Development Program, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

The board has already raised some $30 million for the first year from members of the Consultative Group on Indonesia (CGI), with an objective of gaining an additional $20 million to help fund the first three years of the project.

According to Erna, the role of the board includes minimizing practices of collusion, corruption and nepotism in the disbursement of the funds.

The money will be allocated to various projects which focus on major governance issues like reforming the justice sector, developing a regional autonomy policy, empowering the legislature, restructuring the electoral system, reforming the civil service, encouraging corporate governance and strengthening civil society.

Erna said submission of proposals were open to all -- the government, the private sector, the media and non-governmental organizations.

"The board will screen each proposal that comes to us. If the proposal is logical we will supply the funding," she said without elaborating on the specifics on funding for each proposal.

Nurcholish said one example project for legislative empowerment could be providing various training programs or seminars to enhance the awareness and knowledge of legislators in the field. (10)