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Indonesia Govt to eliminate honorary administrative staff to boost efficiency and reduce expenses

Indonesia plans to eliminate honorary administrative staff linked to campaign teams and officials to improve efficiency and reduce budgetary strain.



INDONESIA: The Indonesian Minister of Home Affairs, Tito Karnavian, has revealed a significant issue concerning honorary administrative staff who are primarily drawn from the campaign teams (timses) and families of local officials.

Minister Tito stated that he does not object to the presence of honorary specialists such as healthcare workers, nurses, and teachers. However, administrative honorary employees with ties to campaign teams or local government officials lack clear job responsibilities and often lack specialized skills.

This was said during the ‘Strengthening the Government Internal Oversight Apparatus (APIP) through Human Resources Fulfillment in Provinces/Districts/Cities’ event held by the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (Stranas PK) at the Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday (13 Sep).

Minister Tito expressed concerns that many honorary administrative workers in this field lack specific expertise.

“Administrative staff, in this case, are mostly from campaign teams or are relatives of regional leaders or officials,” stated Tito Karnavian.

He also pointed out that their numbers continue to grow, especially during local elections (Pilkada) when new officials take office. This influx of honorary staff members with connections to campaign teams or family backgrounds further compounds the issue.

“These individuals do not possess any special skills,” added Minister Tito, who further highlighted that many of them often leave work earlier than their designated hours.

“They start their work at 8:00 AM, lacking any expertise, and by 10:00 AM, they are already sipping coffee, rendering them unproductive,” he said.

Tito underscored that the excessive number of honorary staff members is a tactic used by local government officials to inflate employee expenditure budgets.

In many regions, government funding largely depends on central government transfers because their own local revenue (Pendapatan Asli Daerah or PAD) is minimal, comprising only around 2 to 3 percent.

He cited examples of regions where operational expenses account for 67 percent of the Regional Budget (APBD), while 90 percent of the regional government’s finances come from the central government.

Unfortunately, the majority of this funding is allocated to employee-related expenses, such as salaries and allowances, leaving only a small portion for community development programs.

Minister Tito stated, “This results in employee spending in regions that rely on central transfers absorbing most of the budget, while the allocation for true public welfare programs, such as road construction, is limited to only 15-20 percent, causing little progress.”

To address these issues, Minister Tito emphasized the need for APIP to play a more significant role in monitoring various government agencies and local government planning processes. He believes that APIP’s strategic function is vital in preventing criminal activities by government agencies and officials.

“One of the key aspects of prevention is strengthening these APIPs to ensure there are no legal issues,” said Tito. He added, “The principle is how we can reinforce prevention.”

Furthermore, the event highlighted the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (Stranas PK), a cross-ministry and agency program involving the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), Ministry of Home Affairs (Kemendagri), National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), and others. Stranas PK focuses on anti-corruption efforts across various sectors, including local government finances.

In a significant move towards reform, the government has announced plans to phase out honorary staff. Initially scheduled for November 2023, the government has now confirmed that this policy will be implemented in December 2024.

In alignment with the elimination of honorary staff, the Ministry of Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform (PANRB) Minister, Abdullah Azwar Anas, has stated that government agencies are prohibited from recruiting new honorary employees.

Illustration: Employees of the Local Government Office.

“We will not allow the recruitment of new honorary staff. The data is already in, and there should be no new honorary data,” Minister Anas stated during a press conference in Jakarta on Monday (11 Sep).

The Ministry of Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform intends to tighten regulations further through the issuance of Government Regulations to ensure that the number of honorary staff does not increase.

Minister Azwar Anas explained that the filling of civil servant positions is typically regulated in detail by the law, resulting in recruitment happening every two years.

To address this issue, the future plan is to allow for civil service recruitment at any time, rather than adhering to a strict two-year cycle.

As Indonesia takes these steps to enhance efficiency, curb excessive expenses, and reduce reliance on central government funds, the government hopes that these reforms will lead to a more effective public administration system and better allocation of resources for the benefit of the Indonesian people.

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