Third World Planning Review

Regional planning reform in Indonesia

Keeping pace with decentralisation?

Third World Planning Review (2001), 23, (3), 249–272.

Abstract

The government of Indonesia is once again attempting to create a more decentralised regional development planning system. There have been many reform efforts over the last decade, but all have been compromised by patrimonial tendencies. In the post-Soeharto decentralisation reforms, begun in 1999, the building blocks of functional assignment and finance are finally being put in place, and upon these a truly decentralised planning system could conceivably be fashioned. This decentralisation framework has some flaws, but it is a significant departure from past centralised arrangements. However, the planning component is still conceptually weak and in disarray, caught in the same interagency wrangles that marked the New Order period. Ultimately, the persistently patrimonial bureaucracy may see the planning system as a tool that may be used to regain some of the control given away in the overall decentralisation framework. Progress on a decentralised planning system is also threatened by the possible misuse of President Megawati Sukarnoputri's wish to curb the excesses of decentralisation. Technical assistance operating in this climate would do well to obtain central support to work directly with regional goverments in developing a planning approach suited to the new decentralised framework, and to build receptivity in the centre to a bottom-up approach to further policy and regulation.

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Ferrazzi, Gabriele