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Public Sector and Governance

Improving public sector performance through innovation and inter-agency coordination

Bernard Myers's picture
Outside the Prime Minister’s Department in Putrajaya, the federal administrative capital of Malaysia. Malaysia sits at an important juncture in development history and the country’s experience is key in generating insights to improving public sector performance. (Photo: Samuel Goh/World Bank)

Lessons from Malaysia: Linking government spending to performance

Bernard Myers's picture
Outside the Ministry of Finance of Malaysia where the National Budget Office operates. Malaysia’s experience in ensuring government spending contributes to better public services through reforms like performance-based budgeting is a learning point for other countries. (Photo: Phuong D. Nguyen/bigstock)
Across the world, political leaders have sought to show how public spending contributes to concrete results like better public services, which citizens can experience and benefit from. Coupled with a steadily growing number of channels through which citizens can communicate their “voices,” political leaders are facing increasing pressure to do more with less resources.

In this context, how can civil servants and leaders holding office, particularly the ones who prepare budgets, manage this challenge?

Turning ‘people problems’ into ‘government problems’: Reflection of an outgoing District Head in Indonesia

Suyoto's picture
Also available in: Bahasa Indonesia
Starting a business which used to be problem faced by citizens of Bojonegoro has now become much easier. Photo: Jerry Kurniawan/World Bank


Challenges with decentralization

Seventeen years ago, Indonesia embarked on its so-called big bang decentralization. Almost overnight, responsibility to deliver many public services was transferred to local governments. This was done, in part, with the hope that the decentralization would make local government more agile and responsive to issues facing local communities. However, results have yet to materialize in many locations.

In my view, a key factor driving poor results is the central government’s approach to regulating local governments. In a decentralized environment, the central government has a legitimate role as a regulator to standardize service delivery or financial management procedures. However, in practice, they have been more focused on controlling inputs and processes, with little attention to accountability for results. This approach results in the proliferation of regulatory constraints and a fearful bureaucracy that make it difficult for local leaders to respond to citizen’s problems.

Membuat 'masalah masyarakat' menjadi 'masalah pemerintah': Refleksi seorang mantan Bupati di Indonesia

Suyoto's picture
Also available in: English
 
Dulu mengurus izin usaha menjadi masalah bagi masyarakat Bojonegoro, tetapi sekarang sudah jauh lebih mudah. Foto: Jerry Kurniawan/World Bank


Tantangan desentralisasi

Tujuh belas tahun yang lalu, Indonesia mengawali desentralisasi yang dilakukan secara besar-besaran. Hanya dalam waktu singkat, tanggung jawab untuk melaksanakan banyak layanan publik  dialihkan ke pemerintah daerah. Ini dilakukan dengan harapan bahwa desentralisasi akan menciptakan pemerintah daerah yang lebih dinamis dan responsif terhadap masalah-masalah yang dihadapi masyarakat setempat. Namun, hasil yang diharapkan belum dapat terealisasi di banyak tempat.

Dalam pandangan saya, faktor pendorong utama dari hasil yang belum optimal adalah pendekatan pemerintah pusat dalam mengatur pemerintah daerah. Dalam lingkungan yang terdesentralisasi, pemerintah pusat memiliki peran yang sah sebagai regulator dalam menetapkan standar pemberian layanan atau prosedur manajemen keuangan. Akan tetapi, dalam praktiknya, pemerintah pusat lebih memberi fokus dalam mengendalikan masukan dan proses, hanya sedikit perhatian yang diberikan pada akuntabilitas hasil. Pendekatan ini menghasilkan semakin bertambahnya peraturan-peraturan yang membatasi dan birokrasi yang kurang percaya diri, sehingga menyulitkan para pimpinan daerah untuk menanggapi masalah-masalah yang dihadapi masyarakat.

ASEAN meeting explores ways of professionalizing public procurement to meet development challenges

Adu-Gyamfi Abunyewa's picture
Construction of a sky train in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo: Seksan Pipattanatikanunt/World Bank
In the past, procurement (purchasing) was not considered to be a specialist function but one of the numerous duties that administrators performed in their respective government departments. However, today it is acknowledged that procurement has become an extremely complex and crucial undertaking coupled with the need to ensure value for money in the use of public resources to enhance the living conditions of its citizens.

The responsibilities have radically changed from that of an administrative service function to a proactive and strategic one. Unfortunately, in most jurisdictions the procurement function is still not considered a specific profession and consequently, building procurement professional expertise to meet development challenges remains an unfinished agenda.

How do we achieve sustained growth? Through human capital, and East Asia and the Pacific proves it

Michael Crawford's picture
Students at Beijing Bayi High School in China. Photo: World Bank


In 1950, the average working-age person in the world had  almost three years of education, but in East Asia and Pacific (EAP), the  average person had less than half that amount. Around this time, countries in  the EAP  region put themselves on a path that focused on growth  driven by human capital. They made significant and steady investments in  schooling to close the educational attainment gap with the rest of the world. While  improving their school systems, they also put their human capital to work in  labor markets. As a result, economic growth has been stellar: for four decades  EAP has grown at roughly twice the pace of the global average. What is more, no  slowdown is in sight for rising prosperity.

High economic growth and strong human capital accumulation  are deeply intertwined. In a recent paper, Daron Acemoglu and David Autor explore  the way skills and labor markets interact: Human capital is the central  determinant of economic growth and is the main—and very likely the only—means  to achieve shared growth when technology is changing quickly and raising the  demand for skills. Skills promote productivity and growth, but if there are not  enough skilled workers, growth soon chokes off. If, by contrast, skills are abundant and  average skill-levels keep rising, technological change can drive productivity  and growth without stoking inequality.

Making social accountability part of Mongolia’s DNA

Marcela Rozo's picture
Mongolia has made good progress in its economic and political transitions during the last two decades, but this growth has not been fully translated into improved quality of public services, particularly for the poor and vulnerable. Despite the government’s legal and regulatory reforms to improve transparency and citizen participation in the management of public funds, the pace of implementation is still lagging.  

As Mongolia suffers with economic instability due to external and internal circumstances, how can we improve performance of basic public services in a way that works well in the Mongolian context but also brings sustained outcomes?
Local champions for social accountability are building their vision for the project.
© SDC and World Bank Mongolia

Myanmar - Participating in change: Promoting public sector accountability to all

Shabih Ali Mohib's picture

Available in Myanmar





Successful development is about making a reality of aspirations and ambitious ideas through effective implementation – Myanmar can achieve just that for its people by instilling the values of transparency, accountability and public participation in its public sector.

 
Ideas and policies matter. They have the power to be transformative.  A strong and efficient, transparent and accountable public sector is crucial for translating inspiring ideas and policies into real development outcomes. If we liken Myanmar to a car, then the public sector – a collection of institutions, processes and people which together function as the machinery of government – has an important role to play. The people of Myanmar sit in the driver’s seat, the private sector is the engine which moves the economy forward – and the public sector acts as the car’s transmission and gearbox. If it’s running well, the car moves forward smoothly – but if it’s poorly maintained, people may be in for a bumpy ride. 
 

Transformasi struktural Indonesia beri petunjuk di mana lapangan kerja yang bagus

Maria Monica Wihardja's picture
Also available in: English



Pepatah mengatakan “Hidup bagaikan roda – kadang di atas, kadang di bawah”.

Era ‘booming komoditas’ ketika harga minyak mentah, kelapa sawit dan batu bara melambung tinggi sudah berakhir. Sudah seyogyanya hal ini ini menjadi lampu kuning bagi Indonesia, karena peralihan ekonomi ini telah mempengaruhi pertumbuhan lapangan kerja dalam beberapa tahun terakhir. Lalu, bagaimana Indonesia bisa terus menciptakan lapangan kerja baru untuk pencari tenaga kerjanya yang terus bertambah?

Jawabannya ada di sektor manufaktur dan jasa, seperti yang sudah terindikasi oleh pola sejarah yang ada.

Dalam waktu 20 tahun terakhir (di luar era krisis ekonomi di tahun 1997-1999), sektor manufaktur dan jasa menjadi sumber penting lapangan kerja baru di tengah menurunnya jumlah pekerjaan di sektor pertanian. Dari tahun 1999-2015, proporsi pekerjaan di bidang pertanian turun menjadi 34% dari 56%, dari total lapangan kerja, sedangkan sektor jasa mengalami kenaikan menjadi 54% dari 34% dan sektor manufaktur naik dari 10% menjadi 13%. 

Indonesia’s structural transformation offers clues on where to find good jobs

Maria Monica Wihardja's picture
Also available in: Bahasa Indonesia



What goes up must come down.

The end of the commodities boom is a wake-up call for Indonesia, as the reversal in economic transformation has adversely impacted employment growth in recent years. How can Indonesia continue to create jobs for its growing labor force?

Jobs in manufacturing and services offer a solution, as historical patterns of job creation have shown.

In the past 20 years (excluding the economic crisis of 1997-1999), manufacturing and services have been important sources of job creation, while employment in agriculture continues to decline. From 1990 to 2015, jobs in agriculture fell to 34% from 56% of all employment, while service sector work has surged to 53% from 34%, and manufacturing jobs have increased from 10% to 13%.

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