Friday, June 24, 2005

Coordination razzle-dazles: infrastructure

Over at a discussion on JBIC's new survey results on Japanese companies' perception on Indonesia as future production base in the region, a debate arose around the poor infrastructure condition. A spokesperson from East Jakarta Industrial Park blamed the government for not giving priority to improve the road condition to facilitate better logistics from industrial park to the port. The government's national planning bureau (Bappenas) denounced the charge, saying that they did have "concrete plans" (what's "concrete plans"?) to develop better access from the park to the port. However, when they were about to implement the plan, they found out that the state-owned company responsible for managing toll roads, PT Jasa Marga had already have a contract plan with some private companies. So --bear with me-- the Bappenas could do nothing about it. As to why even the Jasa Marga had not realized the plan was a mystery to the audience. We only knew that, given all the "concrete plans" they have, the government officials seem to value grandiose, ivory-tower event like the Asian-African Summit highly above infrastructure improvement. In fact, a source told me that the money had been rerouted to develop the new toll road to serve the summit's VIPs. Yes, the new toll road now also serves commuters from Jakarta to Bandung (or the other way around), but at the same time it creates severe bottleneck for the flow of export goods coming from Cibitung, Cikarang, Kerawang, and Cikampek (the industrial parks) to Tanjung Priok (the shipping port). [One of ongoing research in LPEM now is to identify logistics inefficeincy in export industries. Surely, this would be a very important issue].

But, continuing on my frustation yesterday, it simply appears to me that the government really has coordination problem. Mind you, Bappenas is government. Jasa Marga is state-owned. Sounds familiar?

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