Keep Building, Papua

(First Part of Two Writings) – One of the goals of development is none other than the welfare of the whole community. In the process, it is not easy for Indonesia to develop simultaneously for all regions given that the differences in resources, culture, and vast territory. This challenge will never diminish because of the urgent needs and demands to be equal with other advanced nations.

The regional autonomy policy that has been implemented since 2001 is actually one of the government’s efforts to build a nation based on existing differences, where the region becomes a source of national development strength. Regional autonomy provides flexibility to local communities, with autonomous rights to regulate and develop their communities towards prosperity, in accordance with the style and character of the local community. Through regional autonomy, it is hoped that all regions in Indonesia can develop and progress together.

Papua, as a region that has special autonomy (otsus) as stipulated in Law No. 21/2001 and will end this year, has now been successfully re-ratified with several revisions in it. The purpose of this new law, of course, is to improve Papua as the most end province to continue to develop with all the wealth of natural resources and the character of its people.

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The bureaucracy has an important role in delivering government policies into real operational actions at all levels of society. The bureaucracy has the financial resources to determine the direction and focus of development, including by involving the community in the implementation of various policies made. In line with this belief, the bureaucracy is an important “player” in the development process, for that an effective bureaucracy, good and constructive governance is the key to successful development in Papua.

Currently, Papua is still a region of Indonesia with a high poverty rate. The Central Statistics Agency (BPS) recorded that the percentage of poor people in Papua had increased by 0.09% points, from 26.55% in September 2019 to 26.64% in March 2020. It means that this figure shows that the number of people living under poverty line, more than a quarter of the population.

The quality of spending is also an important key in accelerating regional development. The not good quality of spending, empirically in line with the quality of human resources in the bureaucracy, the quality of spending can be measured through several variables, namely the spending priorities, timeliness, the spending allocation, accountability and transparency, and effectiveness.

The data shows that in terms of proportion, indirect expenditure (BTL) such as salaries still dominates the allocation of regional expenditures in both Papua and West Papua Provinces. The proportion of BTL Papua from 2016-2019 was 56%, 54%, 63%, and 49%, respectively. Meanwhile in West Papua with the same time span, the conditions are not much different, namely 51%, 57%, 56% and 57%. The amount of BTL indicates that the effectiveness of Papua and West Papua regional spending is still low for development.

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Furthermore, when viewed from the ratio of capital expenditures, the provinces of Papua and West Papua have not shown the effectiveness of spending for development. Capital expenditure is believed to have a significant direct impact on economic growth and job creation. Currently, West Papua Province allocates more capital expenditure with an average of 23% during 2016-2019, while Papua Province averages around 22%. This small figure of capital expenditures shows that the existing quality of spending still needs to be improved and improved.

Author: Candra Fajri Ananda, PhD (Special Staff of the Indonesian Ministry of Finance)

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