Janeman Latul & April Aswadi
Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, one of the architects of the new government’s economic and development vision, has been appointed to head a new presidential task force intended to help remove bottlenecks in development programs.
Kuntoro is the new head of the Presidential Working Task Force on Development Supervision and Control. He is a former energy minister and former head of the multi-billion dollar Aceh-Nias Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency (BRR).
He had been considered the strongest contender for coordinating minister for the economy, given to former State Secretary Hatta Rajasa.
Sources have said that Kuntoro declined offers for other ministerial posts, including the energy portfolio and that of the empowerment of the state apparatus.
The new task force replaces a previous presidential unit called the Presidential Working Unit to Develop Policy and Reform Programs (UKP3KR).
The UKP3KR was formed in 2006 to help the president supervise, control, enhance and execute government programs. The old unit’s main tasks were to enhance the investment and business climate, help the government speed up its administrative reforms, step up the performance of state-owned companies and widen the presence of small and medium-size businesses in the country.
Many were dissatisfied with the UKP3KR. They said it failed to perform well because its authority overlapped with several ministries and government institutions, including the vice president’s office.
“We have plans in many ministerial sectors, and this unit has the main duty of ensuring all those plans are executed well and meet their schedules and objectives,” Kuntoro said after being sworn into his new post at the State Palace.
Kuntoro said his unit was not too different from the UKP3KR but that its authority will not overlap with that of coordinating ministries. “My unit will only work on major issues that the president orders us to,” he said.
He added that the coordinating ministries worked on all aspects of an issue.
“We shall work on the ‘bottlenecking’ issue. It means that if there are many unfinished programs we will work to identify the problems, remove the obstacles so that they can be properly executed,” he said.
Imam Sugema, an economist with the Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (INDEF), said the new task force needed the full backing of the president to be successful.
Wimar Witoelar, a political analyst, said Kuntoro had the support of both the president and vice president.
“This could be like the ‘West Wing’ in the United States,” Wimar said.