06/15/2016, 17.21
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Jakarta scraps 3,143 by-laws to streamline the public administration

by Mathias Hariyadi

President Joko Widodo took the step to speed up public administration, which was a drag on the country’s development. Corrupt administrators use by-laws to line their pockets.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced at a press conference on Monday that the “Interior Ministry has cancelled 3,143 local by-laws” in order to streamline the administration and boost the economy.

With fewer rules, Indonesians should find it easier when they apply for permits and certificates. Local by-laws (Peraturan Daerah or perda) have been a nightmare for most, but a gold mine for corrupt local officials.

Sadly, Indonesia is one of the world’s most corrupt countries. According to Transparency International, the Southeast Asian nation was ranked 88th out of 168 in 2015. As evidence of how much officials use the public purse for private gain, Indonesia scores low on the corruption control scale, -0.7 on a scale that ranges from -2.5 to +2.5.

Faced with long queues at counters, Indonesians prefer to pay extra to get the papers they need, like birth certificates, marriage certificates, or building permits.

Hiding behind a great wall of laws and by-laws, public servants take advantage of the situation to line their pockets, and usually go unpunished. Now with thousands fewer rules, red tape should improve.

President Widodo is not new to such measures. When he was mayor of Surakarta (Central Java), he improved service delivery to the public. He did the same later when he became governor of Jakarta.

"I can assure you,” the president said, “that this was done with the goal of giving our great nation an edge and make it more competitive."

The president also called on governors and mayors to streamline the other by-laws for the greater good, and avoid bureaucratic rules that hamper the economy.

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