Reconstructing Indonesia: A journey toward dynamic governance
April-July 2016
By: Azhar Kasim

One factor that makes these countries more developed is that they have quality human resources and knowledge workers. History shows that the producers of final products, usually developed countries that lack natural resources, are more prosperous than natural resource-producing countries such as Indonesia. For example, Switzerland has a chocolate industry that controls the global chocolate market, as opposed to Ghana and Indonesia, which merely produce and export raw cocoa. Developed countries, even if they have few natural resources, have superior human resources.

Indonesia’s national development has failed to transform the country. There has been insufficient positive impact on community empowerment and participation in economic development initiatives. Many factors influence successful development. One is the effectiveness and efficiency of policies and public administration, in which Indonesia is sorely lacking.

So what’s wrong?

There is a problem with human resources as well as systems. Weak integrity and an unresponsive attitude among government officials, vested interests, corruption and nepotism remain rampant. The quality of Indonesia’s civil service remains low, blighted by incompetence and a lack of professionalism. Public policy and administration systems are based on a “linear” way of thinking, rules-driven with no feedback or evaluation mechanism. Legislation approved by the House of Representatives is unaligned and not harmonized, conflicting with other laws. Development programs are not integrated within the national budget system, internal controls are weak and there is no effectively structured public program evaluation.

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