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Indonesia’s 5 Levels of Government: Provincial Government

As you may aware of the national level of the government in Indonesia, I would discuss the second level of its government. The remaining level of the administration will be discussed in different posts.

Source: Australia Indonesia Centre

Provincial Government

Government administration is processed through descending levels of administrative subunits. Indonesia’s 34 provinces form the second level of administration. There are three special territories, namely the capital city of Jakarta, the special territory of Yogyakarta, and the special territory of Aceh. Each province is administered by a governor chosen by the central government from candidates proposed by the provincial assembly. The 2014 amendments to the Law on Regional Administration saw provinces retain key powers to coordinate authority on matters within their boundaries that cut across cities and regencies.

On the smaller islands, most administrative regions were created to coincide with traditional regions, the boundaries of which were defined largely by natural geographic features. On the contrary, on the larger islands, administrative boundaries were constructed to simplify complex traditional and cultural divisions. The province of Central Java, for instance, spans not only the core of the island of Java but also the core of Javanese culture. Within the province’s borders lie the semiautonomous special district of Yogyakarta and the city of Surakarta (Solo), both of which are historical court centres that maintain traditional rulers (albeit without real political power). Similarly, the provinces of West Java and Banten, on the western part of the island, coincide with the geographic, cultural, and linguistic terrain of the Sundanese people.

The number of first-order political subdivisions has changed since the end of the 20th century. East Timor (declared a province in 1976) gained its independence in 1999. In addition, largely as a result of the push to decentralize in the early 21st century, several new provinces were created out of the existing structure. The province of Banten was formed in 2000, from the western tip of West Java. West Papua was created in 2006, from the western end of Papua. North Kalimantan was split off from East Kalimantan in 2012. New provinces in Celebes included Gorontalo on the northern peninsula and West Sulawesi in 2004, in the island’s west-central coastal region. The Riau Islands and Bangka Belitung were created from islands off Sumatra’s eastern shore.

In terms of expenditure, about 80 percent of total public expenditure in the provinces was disbursed from the national budget controlled by departments and agencies headquartered in Jakarta. Of the 20 percent administered by the provinces, about half came from Presidential Instruction (Instruksi Presiden) grants for infrastructure and other developmental purposes. Beginning in 1969, the Inpres grant programs at provincial, district, and village levels channelled about 20 percent of the development budget to small-scale projects for local development, with an emphasis on roads, irrigation, schools, and public health. Only about 10 percent of regional government revenue was derived from local taxes and fees.

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