Indonesia President Jokowi expedites replacement of high-ranking officials

Indonesia President Jokowi expedites replacement of high-ranking officials
Indonesia's President Joko Widodo.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has issued a presidential instruction (Inpres) to speed up the process of filling senior posts in ministries and state agencies in his bid to achieve better bureaucratic performances.

Inpres No. 3/2015, signed by Jokowi on Feb. 25, instructs all ministries and state agencies to conduct a simple, transparent and accountable open-call selection process within 10 working days through a selection committee.

The process, the instruction says, is aimed at filling positions at ministries or agencies, which if left vacant could hamper their performance and disrupt public services.

Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Minister Yuddy Chrisnandi said the Inpres was issued to speed up efforts to improve the performance of each ministry and institution by filling vacant positions with competent individuals.

"The government has set an ideal target of more than 50 per cent of budgets being disbursed by April this year. Therefore, certainty about who will be responsible [for the budgets] is needed," Yuddy said on Friday on the sidelines of an event at the Presidential Palace.

Yuddy added that the Inpres could also be used as a guideline for accelerating the rotation of high-ranking officials. He said that in some ministries including the home and finance ministries, key positions were left vacant.

The Inpres, Yuddy said was aimed at officials in echelon I positions, who have been serving in a position for five years, who will soon reach retirement age or those who have put in poor performances.

Echelon I positions include directors general, secretaries-general, inspectors general and ministerial experts.

The Inpres also allows certain high-ranking posts to be filled by professionals and non-civil servant applicants with Jokowi's consent.

Jokowi has been pushing for a "mental revolution" to transform the country's bureaucracy, which has long been plagued by corruption and staffed by incompetent civil servants, into an effective tool.

The selection mechanism would remain in line with the 2014 State Civil Apparatus Law, which stipulates a transparent and competitive merit-based system based on a selection committee.

The selection committee will assess the skills, track records, performances, knowledge and integrity of the candidates and later choose three final candidates to be submitted to a presidential team for the President to pick the person for the job.

"The process must now be faster to meet the 10-day deadline, at the same time, the procedure must be followed properly," Yuddy added.

"The establishment of all selection committees should be in line with the 2014 law, which stipulates a majority of independent members with the rest being ministerial or institutional insiders."

Yuddy estimated that around 40 high-ranking posts were currently due for rotation.

The ministry is in the process of monitoring around 20 top posts in ministries and state agencies before starting the selection process.

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has recently applauded open-call recruitment, saying it is necessary to eradicate the practice of nepotism and favouritism prevalent in the bureaucracy.

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