Sat, 26 Apr 2003

Six local governments chosen as role models

Sri Wahyuni, The Jakarta Post, Yogyakarta

Three municipalities and three regencies have been chosen to act as role models due to their successful implementation of a "performance based budget", which improves transparency and efficiency in the use of state funds.

The government owned Building Institutions for Good Governance (BIGG) said the six regions that had managed their budgets on the the performance-based system had allowed the public to play a greater role in the use of state funds.

The three municipalities are Bukit Tinggi in the province of West Sumatra, Bogor in West Java and Samarinda in East Kalimantan. The three regencies are Gowa in South Sulawesi, and Sukoharjo and Pati both in Central Java.

"Samarinda managed to save Rp 6 billion (about US$689,000) last year," Samarinda Mayor Achmad Amins said on Thursday in a press conference after a two-day meeting with representatives of other regions to discuss the performance budget.

He said the city expected to save another Rp 13 billion through the performance budget next year.

Managing regional budgets under the performance budget system has been required by law since 2000.

Under the performance budget, local governments are required to give the public a greater say in the drafting of the budget as well as in its use.

It also demands greater detail in the planning of the budget to avoid officials overstating their estimated spending.

Jakarta introduced these measures to avoid a surge in corruption and inefficiency at the regional level with the implementation of the Autonomy Law in 2001.

The Autonomy Law gives some of the central government's power to provinces, regencies and mayoralties. But the move has also decentralized corruption, analysts have said.

So far few have fully implemented the performance budget, said BIGG program coordinator Charles P. Poluan Jr.

He said BIGG hoped the six local governments would each take at least two other local governments under their wing to help them implement the performance-based budget.

"By doing so, we hope to transfer their experience to the other 400 and more municipalities and regencies throughout the country," Poluan said.

BIGG was formed by the Washington-based International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and the Indonesian Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Home Affairs.

It is part of a technical assistance program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).