Openness of APBN – APBD and public control

3
DR. Fuad Bawazier, MA Economist and Former Finance Minister in Cabinet Development VII

IO – The commotion on the Draft of APBD (Provincial Budget) of Jakarta is increasingly veering wildly, and some exploit this politically to beat Anies Baswedan. But it could ultimately beat the previous governors, even the government in general, both the Central Government and the regional governments in whose budgets have not been transparent. This commotion is expected to open the public eye that public money in the form of APBN (State Budget) / APBD (Provincial Budget) is indeed still problematic.

All APBN and APBD budgets should have been formally approved by the DPR (Parliament) and DPRD (Provincial House of Representatives) and be opened to the public, so that if irregularities are found, they can be corrected or prevented from being implemented and amended through the Amended Budget. That is, everyone should have access to open it or read the Budget to the most detailed, the last unit, if in the State Budget is unit six.

That is one of the uses of e-budgeting and e-procurement, so that everyone knows and can participate in monitoring it. If it’s true and honest, why are you afraid that the budget will be known by the people? An exception might be given to certain weapons budgets and certain intelligence activities because of their confidential nature.

Therefore, the government especially the Minister of Finance, should not “use the hands of the Constitutional Court (MK)” to ban it as in the case of the APBN, where the DPR as people’s representatives cannot access the details of the APBN, even though it seems bulky.

It is common knowledge that our APBN is not transparent because the details are not known to the public, even though the value is thousands of trillions of rupiah. And it has long been a public allegation (belief) that leakage in the state budget and regional budget is around 30% or even more. Financial audits by the State Audit Board (BPK) do not guarantee the “cleanliness” of budget execution. Even BPK reports that are sampling often show findings or indications of irregularities or violations that are detrimental to the country’s finances.

Because of that, hopefully, the Jakarta’s draft of APBD will be the road opening for the public to get access to open the APBN in full / detail. To be honest, the public is still ignorant of the contents of the budget. The public only knows the numbers, which are only useful for economists’ analysis.

If then the public gets access to the details of the budget, I am sure that the actual supervision will be realized, namely towards an efficient and effective budget. There is no doubt that at first the people will be shocked and officials will be confused and scared to death. It will be discovered that the budget is sloppy and even likely naughty. But I think after 2-3 years, everyone will become accustomed and bad habits in planning and implementing the budget will shrink and decrease drastically. The game might shift to a decrease in quality or quantity, but I’m sure this will also be gone if the public is watching or fighting against it.

Let us be prepared for full transparency or new procedures in this budgeting. Why? Because all the governors to the ministers and the Palace will be uneasy because of the budget markup that will be revealed. This transparency is very good and necessary because the budget will be clean, the government and the DPR / DPRD are no longer careless in preparing the budget because the community is in control.

So, the noise of this Jakarta’s draft of APBD is a Golden Opportunity for Budget Reform, all budgets, and especially the State Budget. Moreover, now that the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has no teeth as it was before the revision of the KPK Law, Budget oversight can only be relied on and effective if it is carried out directly by the public. Whether this BUDGET REFORM will be realized, of course, depends on President Jokowi’s political will, because budget corruptors will not only fight it but will also find new ways to “overcome it”.