Monday, November 09, 2009

Seven Vice Ministers & Civil Servants

President SBY is scheduled to install vice minister for up to seven departments on Wednesday, November 11, 2009. Do we really need them?
These vice ministers shall be those with identity as civil servants. The departments predicted to have vice minister are finance, foreign affairs, industry, transportation, agriculture, defense, and health. We have to admit, civil servants are better off after the 1998 reform. In fact, they're the clear winners of the reform.
The basic salary of civil servants in Indonesia is currently higher than minimum wage of most Indonesians. Higher salary is expected to cut corruption, while that's not the case. Attorney General, for example, asked legislators to approve his plan to raise minimum salary of state prosecutor to Rp10 million or about US$1,000 per month. That would translate to US$12,000 per annum or about six times the nation's average GDP per capita.
The President's salary is currently Rp60 million per month or about Rp800 million per annum (US$90,000), 45 times the nation's average GDP per capita. US President Barrack Obama makes US$475,000 per annum or 10 times the country's GDP per capita (PPP).
High school teachers in Jakarta could make Rp6.5 million per month, lot better than average salary of journalists in town. The lowest paid civil servant in Indonesia, according to President SBY's speech before National Assembly in August, is Rp1.72 million per month or slightly less than US$200 per month. Since most civil servants get 13 months of salary, they could make at the minimum of US$2,600 per annum. Meanwhile, minimum wage for non-government sector is set US$106 per month in Jakarta. 
Public service is currently the best paid job in Indonesia, especially taking into account their relatively "relaxed" working environment. Civil servants in most government offices could go home three hours earlier than their peers in private sector. With less working hours, the current average salary of civil servants could be considered overpaid.
That's why government job attracted youngsters in various provinces. Look at this article, where 56,000 people are competing for 7,411 tickets in North Sulawesi province. Brokers reportedly offer one seat for US$3,000 (guaranteed).
Or this one in South Sumatra, where 6,000 applicants competed for 82 seats in department of religious affairs. In Sleman, Yogyakarta, 7,410 people submitted their CVs online, while only 367 seats available. In Bengkulu, the ratio is 10 to one, 7,616 applicants for 700 seats.
These guys are looking for jobs. They are not entering public sector to serve public. But realistically, this is the easiest way to create job. Expand the bureaucracy. Create more departments, more ministerial level positions, more legislators, more regents, sub-regents, governors, team member this and that.
But please tone down your expectation, i.e. to get better public service. Oh, and if you think higher salary will trim down bureaucratic process or corruption, please continue your dream. 




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