Indonesian regional heads call for end to civil service recruitment freeze

By on 16/07/2018 | Updated on 24/09/2020
Indonesia president Joko Widodo wants to cut the number of civil servants.

Regional political leaders in Indonesia have called for president Joko Widodo to lift a moratorium on the recruitment of civil servants.

The moratorium came into effect on 1 January 2015 in a bid to cut government spending. The country employs 4.5 million civil servants, who work for both central and regional authorities and account for 33.8% of government spending. The administration argued that the appropriate number of civil servants for the country was around 3.5 million people, or 1.5% of the total population.

The government estimated that around 200,000 civil servants were due to retire a year; so after three years, the total number of civil servants would fall to around 4 million. The recruitment freeze is due to end next year.

Recruitment required for renewal

However, regional political heads, known as regents, have called for the moratorium to be lifted early so that they can recruit staff with skills in crucial fields such as digital technology, according to daily national newspaper the Jakarta Post.

Saifullah, the regent of Sidoajo in East Java, said that regional governments need new employees to handle digital programmes such as the online single submission (OSS) system – launched by central government to make it easier for businesses to register in the country. Most of the civil service lack the skills to manage the new technology, he said.

“We need fresh minds to catch up with [the new] programmes, but we cannot recruit new civil servants,” he told the Jakarta Post.

Dr Faida, The regent of Jember in East Java, said that regional administrations face a shortage of manpower three years after the moratorium was imposed.

About Catherine Early

Catherine is a journalist and editor specialising in government policy and regulation. She writes predominantly about environmental issues and has held permanent roles at the Environmentalist (now known as Transform), the ENDS Report, Planning magazine and Windpower Monthly, and has also written for the Guardian, the Ecologist and China Dialogue. She was a finalist in the Guardian’s International Development Journalism competition 2009, and was part of the team that won PPA Business Magazine of the Year 2011 for Windpower Monthly. She also won an outstanding content award at Haymarket Media Group’s employee awards for data-led stories in Planning magazine. She holds a 2:1 honours degree in English language and literature from Birmingham University.

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