Bojonegoro, Indonesia, 27 April 2016 – A sprawling district of 1.2 million people, Bojonegoro is traditionally among the poorest districts of East Java province. But the discovery in 2001 of a huge oil block – the biggest oil discovery in 30 years and possibly the country’s largest oil reserves – is changing Bojonegoro. By the end of 2016 when production peaks, Bojonegoro may account for 20% of national oil production.
“After our revenues started to increase in recent years, I started to worry that the money would not benefit our citizens,” said Suyoto, Chief of Bojonegoro District and affectionately referred to by residents as Big Brother. “So I looked for ways to ensure that our spending was on target. That is how I came to know about the World Bank.”
To spend their revenues better, in November 2014 the Bojonegoro local government began working with the Bank and a number of development partners to try a new approach for improving service delivery. Called RAAP-ID, or Rapid Assessment and Action Plan to Improve Service Delivery, the approach had previously been successful in Latin American countries, such as Colombia and Mexico. The Government of Canada, the European Union, and the Government of Switzerland were involved in the program.
“Having money is just part of the solution. We should also analyze how we spend the money,” said I Nyoman Sudjana, Head of the Bojonegoro Planning Agency during a recent workshop to evaluate the district’s implementation of RAAP-ID.
Starting with an assessment of conditions in the district, RAAP-ID then analyzes development indicators to determine areas that need improvement. In Bojonegoro, the assessment identified three challenges to public services: the need to improve high school enrollment, high rates of maternal mortality, and the cumbersome processes for business licensing. Having almost universal access to primary and junior high school, Bojonegoro now wants to focus on increasing high school enrollment from the current rate of 70.4%. The maternal mortality rate in the district has dropped below the MDG target, but in 2015 it rose again.
Officials from the district government then worked with specialists, including those from the Bank, on identifying how money should be spent for these three priority public services needs.