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Paper: Development of Statistical Services in Indonesia

Development of Statistical Services in Indonesia

By Sugito Suwito

I. Introduction

Eventhough Indonesia is suffering from economic crisis, the demand for statistical information is even increasing. Unlike other government agencies, the activity of the National Statistical Office in Indonesia, which is called the BPS, relatively does not affected by the budget cut, because of the additional data collected on specific issues, like the impact of crisis on unemployment, child labour, compulsory education, health condition, family planning, household consumption and income, etc.

The long-term development program on the strengthening of BPS capability also only slightly affected by the crisis. There is no reduction of budget for current expenditure, the budget cut actually limited mainly on development budget for indept study, methodological development, procurement of equipment, construction of new building for branch offices, etc.

During the last few years, BPS accumulates a number of developments as a contribution to the wealth of experiences achieved by the statistical offices in the ESCAP region. The developments describe here covering the period 1996-1998.

II. The new Statistics Act

The old Statistics Act enacted in 1960 was recently revised and improved to cope with the latest development in the demand and supply of outputs of statistical services. The new Statistics Act, i.e. the Law No. 1611997 on Statistics, was enacted in May 1997.

This new Statistics Act 1997, gives a bigger and heavier role to the BPS (the Statistics Indonesia) and describes a clearer distribution of responsibility between the BPS, the statistical units in other government agencies and the private sector. The BPS is responsible for the compilation of basic statistics, i.e. statistics used by policy makers and general users for a broad range of purposes. The respective government departments compile the sectoral statistics which are used internally to support the functions and duties of the respective agencies. While the private sectors may collect statistical data to fulfill the specific needs of the business sector, which is usually in the form of micro data.

The BPS also have a function to be the reference center or clearing house of statistics, since the results of all sectoral statistics should be submitted to the BPS. Beside that any private company conducting statistical activity should provide the synopsis of the statistical activity to the BPS. Another function of BPS is to be the coordinating agency of statistical activities both at the central and regional (provincial, district) levels.

III. Appreciation from the government

It is very fortunate for the BPS that from time to time the government pays an increasing attention and appreciation to the output of the BPS. Since BPS is directly under and responsible to the President, it is independent from any intervention of the Ministers.

The statistical system in Indonesia is broadly centralized with BPS as the coordinating agency and assign to compile most of the basic statistics. There are 27 provincial branch offices of BPS and 3 1 0 district branch offices directly under the BPS Headquarter, not under the governor or mayor. This set up will guarantee the independence from the local government and to facilitate the enforcement of standard concepts and definitions throughout the country.

Under the President, there are three Coordinating Ministers, i.e. Minister Coordinator for Economoci Affairs, Social Welfare, and Security & Political Affairs. Since 1997, the Head of BPS every month is invited to present a report about the latest development in the economic field (inflation, exports/imports, etc) in the ministerial meeting presided over by the Minister Coordinator for Economic Affairs. The BPS Head also should present in another ministerial meeting presided over by the Minister Coordinator for Social Welfare to report finding of BPS household survey on education, health, youth, gender, poverty eradication and other related issues, depending on the topic to be discussed in the meeting.

Since the middle of 1998, the BPS Head is invited to be present in the Cabinet Meeting as a resource person but not to present any report, since only the Ministers will report to the President based on the previous ministerial meeting presided over by the Minister Coordinator.

From the ministerial meeting as a forum, the BPS Head has the opportunity to present the official statistics. Just in case there is any Minister disagree with the statistics, there is always a chance for BPS to explain and verify the figures, so that any misunderstanding and possible disagreement with the Minister could be reduced to a minimum.

With the increasing appreciation of the government on the work of BPS at the national level, gradually the local government also respect the independence and credibility of BPS. This appreciation is a very important to enable the BPS to work professionally without any intervention from the external factors.

IV. Staff Training and Education

Since 1958 the BPS established the Academy of Statistics, a three year formal education on statistics. In the early 1980 the in-house training facilities in BPS was blended into a Statistical Training and Education Center. The Center provide short tenn training, distance training as well as formal education through the Academy of Statistics.

Recently, in 1997 the goveniment enhanced the existing training facilities. Hence starting this year (1 998) the in-house training of the BPS provide the following institutions :

·Graduate school in Statistics. A four year formal education in statistics and computer tailored to the special need of BPS.
·Statistics and Computer Training Center. With a separate campus and special facilities like computer training facilities, dormitory, and other related facilities, the Center provide the necessary facilities to up-grade the quality of BPS staff.

All the training are conducted in Indonesian language (the Bahasa Indonesia), however since most of the instructors were graduated abroad the training may also be conducted in English if so required. So far the training is to up-grade the capability of the BPS staff in the headquarter as well as from the branch offices. There are cases that the Center also provide services to other government agencies, to up-grade their staff in the field of statistics and information technology application.

V. Service to the Users

Eventhough BPS has a homepage in the intemet since October 1995, there are still more detail request for statistical information sent by mail, fax or e-mail. Users from the national, provincial and district level as well as ftom abroad are requesting for more ftagmented data. The subject matter divisions are overburdened not only with producing statistical information but also with servicing the users.

In the new structure of BPS, a new unit is added to the organizational structure of the head office as well as in each one of the 27 provincial branch offices. The new unit is in charge of the data presentation and services to the users. The established data communication network facilitates the smooth working relation between this new unit with the subject matter divisions in providing services to the data users.

This new unit is also responsible for the development of the meta-data base and acting as the reference center for statistical data. All publications should be recorded and distributed by this unit, similarly with all correspondences and filling questionnaires of all the international bodies, which are always becoming an increasing burden to the statistical offices.

VI. The Development of Information Technology Culture

The exploitation of new information technology is a costly undertaking. Many institutions failed to exploit the technology because human resource in the organization do not support the exploitation. To achieve the full participation of the staff, in the developing countries a new culture should be introduced to make them comfortable with the new technology. Since the IT development is so rapid, the utilization of IT should not be driven solely by technological factor, instead human factor should also be taken into consideration.

Since the price of PC is declining, BPS was able to install more computers in the province and district branch offices. This computer facility and the ongoing computer training program provided to the local staff have changed the culture of work of BPS staff in the branch offices.

In the head office, with the increasing number of PC, the BPS gradually introduce a working environment which is more IT oriented. Among the BPS officials, it is encouraged to use e-mail for exchange of information, even announcements or invitation and other type of correspondence should be communicated using the electronic media. To develop the IT culture, BPS organizes IT seminars for staff, publish IT bulletin and conduct a regular training through a permanent in-house training facility.

VII. Information Technology Applications in BPS

The Development of BPS' computer network started in 1994 at the headquarters specifically aimed at building IT infrastructure upon which any applications could be build. The network connects every building, at division level. Internet connection was later added at the beginning of 1995 starting at 64Kbps by using leased line.

In keeping with the demands, headquarters network expansion was done in 1997 with the installation of ATM backbones linking all buildings in BPS. The second Intemet connection was added to the network with 2Mbps-microwive link to another ISP within the same year. Current installation enables BPS headquarters to have more than 400 active nodes at the same time, giving staff members virtually the same access to every network resource available.

During the same year BPS also installed local area networks at regional provincial offices. The LANs are aimed at providing a more fluid data transfer, and smoother workflow for every division at the provincial offices. All 27 provinces are now connected to the Intemet using the same ISP as the headquarters. Electronic mail and other forms of data communication services can now be established among BPS headquarters and provincial offices. In addition to that, 17 district are now also connected to the same ISP. Though district offices do not have any local area network installed, the Intemet connections have enable them to exchange data and information with others faster and cheaper compared to the traditional means of transportation. Other districts are scheduled to follow the leads in the near future.

In providing the users with better statistical information services, BPS has developed an electronic data dissemination service using World Wide Web as the media distribution, since October 10, 1995. The media, commonly known as the BPS Web Site, have been enhanced ever since, by adding new information and services.

To further refine data granularity beyond provincial level, BPS regional provincial offices also developed their own web site. Hosted at BPS headquarters, the regional web sites are developed, and maintained by regional office staff.

Driven by motivation to reduce operational cost, BPS first used electronic mail (c- mail) as the media for replacing paper letter, post mail, and memoranda. Within a few months e-mail became the preferred media not only for inter-office but also for data transfer to and ftom regional BPS to the headquarter. Data collected during censuses or surveys are then entered into computers and send to the headquarter by e-mail. This has greatly reduced the time spent for data delivery.

An internal web site (Intranet web site) it also being developed to cope with management demands. Announcement and other information are disseminated internally by using this media. Technical questions regarding information technology, statistics, and general topics can be directed to several forums, giving the chance of employees working together solving their own problems. As part of this internal service, an FTP site has been established containing documents, software and other packages needed for statistical data processing.

Statistical data processing are handle through a series of applications particularly suited for the type of data collected and information produce. More and more applications are now being ported to client-server databases for its flexibility and expendability. A new initiative in developing a statistical data warehouse is also underway. Feasibility studies and small-scale trials are being done. Though the initiative is still far from realizing, it has become one of the paramount goals of information system development.

Computer applications are also used for aiding the BPS managerial level. The applications dealing with budget allocations, project planning and monitoring, inventory control and human resource management, have been developed in-house by BPS staff, specially tailored to suit internal needs. Important decisions by The Management are now being made by the aid of these systems.

VIII. 2000 Population Census

The population census is one of the big undertaking conducted by the BPS. Also the coming 2000 Population Census in Indonesia will cover about 21 0 million population scattered in thousands of islands in a relatively wide area. There are more than 200 ethnic groups with varying degree of development, each has its own local language or dialect, so that the instructors for training of enumerators should describe the detail with a lot of examples pertaining to the local situation because all the questionnaires and manuals are in National Language (Bahasa Indonesia).

During 1998 the completed activity as a component of census undertaking was the mapping operation and census block forming based on new or updated boundary. In the coming 1999 the following major component of census activity will be the household listing and housing census. The peak of the census will be in the middle of 2000 by conducting enumeration of all population and to collect detail information about the characteristic of number of the households.

The main objective of the 200 Population Census is:
1. to develop master sampling frame for the future household surveys
2. to meet the requirement for small area statistics
3. to collect sensitive data, which may be misleading through sample survey

The policy to conduct the 200 Population Census basically are as follows :
1. The requirement to obtain detail information on population and housing based on standard concept and definition will be obtained from the regular household survey with special modules on population and housing.
2. The results will be available down to the district level. The full census enumeration will be focused to collect data as stated in the main objective of the census. The concept and definition may not be comparable to the standard concept, however adjusted to the : (1) needs of the lower administrative units, (2) the ability of the enumerators and (3) the knowledge of the respondents.

The enumerators recruited for the population enumeration at the peaks of the census will be about 500.000 enumerator. All of them will be trained in stages, for the peak of the census there will be there stages of training, i.e. the training for Master Instructors, for the enumerators and school teachers (who happen to be in holiday during the census operation), housewife, and other part time workers in the villages.

With the help of the more sophisticated information technology, the accuracy and timeliness of the census results will be expected to improve significant expected especially with regard to the data capture, data processing and data dissemination.

IX. Concluding Remark

The assist the developing countries in the ESCAP region to develop @and improve the statistical service, exchange of information and experience should be enhanced. Beside that they should help each other to embark on a new undertaking, and to make available the existing facilities for other neighbouring countries to do learning by doing.

Indonesia would be glad to welcome study visit, on the-job training, even class training at the BPS in-house Statistics and Computer Training Center, provided there is a donor agency who could provide for the expenses of this undertaking. With regard to the subject area, there are opportunities to see how BPS run the National Socio Economic Survey of Household, the Manufacturing Industry Survey, the Poverty Measurement, the Implementation of the 1993 SNA, and other related issues.

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