Sat, 29 Mar 2003

West Java governor admits failure to achieve targets

Yuli Tri Suwarni, The Jakarta Post, Bandung

West Java Governor Nuriana has confessed that West Java under his administration had failed to achieve its seven development program targets in fiscal 2002.

Among the development targets his administration had failed to achieve were controlling inflation, increasing economic growth and investment, more effective poverty eradication and an improvement in the human development index (HDI).

Nuriana made his admission during a plenary session of the provincial legislative council as the end of his second term in office approaches. Nuriana presented his progress report for fiscal 2002 on Wednesday, while his term will end in June.

In his speech, the governor admitted he had been unable to lower the unemployment rate to 840,000 as envisaged in the 2002 provincial strategic plan. In fact, the number of jobless increased to 1.4 million from one million in 2001.

"The soaring unemployment rate was due to frequent labor dismissals and a small increase in job openings, which was not enough to absorb the expanding labor force," Nuriana explained.

Meanwhile, West Java's inflation rate last year stood at 11.97 percent, higher than the national projection of only 7 percent, while investment totaled only Rp 34 trillion against the targeted Rp 45.5 trillion.

In his speech, Nuriana attributed the investment downtrend to the number of investment projects approved by the central government, which had declined by 13 percent. "As regards domestic investment, West Java was only allocated 30 government- approved projects," he added.

Continued economic stagnation, according to the governor, resulted in the failure to achieve the region's 4.06 percent economic growth target for 2002. Growth eventually came in at only 3.9 percent. As part of a domino effect, the HDI rate also showed no significant improvement.

The provincial HDI still registered 67.45 in 2002, far below the level of 70.89 set for that year. Consequently, the quality of human development in West Java ranked 15th out of the country's 30 provinces.

In fact, with its local budget totaling over Rp 2 trillion, West Java should be one of Indonesia's wealthiest provinces, in line with its aim of becoming the most advanced region in 2010 with the HDI projected to reach 80.

Members of the provincial council, however, refused to comment on the accountability report. "We will study it first and discuss it in faction meetings to compare it with the concrete data before deciding whether or not to accept it," said Rahardi Zakaria of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle.

The council is scheduled to decide whether or not to accept the governor' progress report on April 7.