The President should directly lead bureaucratic reform

JAKARTA (JP): Gorontalo's bureaucratic and administrative staff receive up to 400 percent of their basic salary in incentives -- as long asthey meet or surpass performance targets, Governor Fadel Muhammad said.

While presenting Thursday his experiences around implementing good governance, Fadel said providing financial incentives had seen an increase in staff performance.

"In Gorontalo, we are now involving supervisors and colleagues (of individual civil servants) in setting out targets, so that we can control performance," he said.

Fadel, a businessman and Golkar Party executive and directly elected in 2006 as governor, was speaking at a seminar called "Reinventing Government in Asia".

The event is set to end Friday and was organized by various bodies, including the State Ministry for Administrative Reform, the Seoul-based United Nations Governance Center and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

Fadel said in order to push bureaucratic reform, local authorities "needed direct supervision, at least from the Vice President ... or the president".

Without such supervision, he said bureaucratic reform "had not made any significant progress nationwide despite several sporadic achievement at the regional level".

He also said Indonesia needed to work harder to transform the "mindset" of its civil servants, in order to see them become more professional in delivering public services.

This was "the biggest challenge" in bureaucratic reform in the country, he said.

Fadel, who said direct supervision has been implemented in other Asian countries including India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, also said measuring progress within three years was necessary.

Separately, the Director of the UN Governance Center Myung Soo Cho said given the diversity of Asian countries, each nation needed to create its own model of reform.

Cho said although leadership was the key, "making the public understand what their government was doing" and the expected results was also pivotal to realize reform in every country.

He said bureaucratic reform was often slow and frustrating and that dialog was important.

Fadel said local administrations should also pay attention to their financial transparency and encourage the use of information technology to improve a government's performance and to serve thepublic better.

"Financial reports should be transparent and published every six months, to inform the public of the real situation," Fadel said.

Professionals, instead of mayors or governors should be involved in handling the details, he said. (Agustina Wayansari)
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