Regional autonomy principles restrict provinces in developing community based water and sanitation (?)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

We had a little chat today with several officials involved in the development of community based water and sanitation in East Java. One of the main obstacles in intervening in the development of community-based water and sanitation (Air Minum Penyehatan Lingkungan Berbasis Masyarakat or AMPL-BM) are due to regional autonomy. 

According to our sources, provinces can no longer intervene in the development of community-based watsan in regencies/municipalities, since their authority in water provisions are limited to inter-municipality/inter-regencies initiatives or in areas regarded as "water scarce". Indeed, regional autonomy principles bars provinces from interfering in local (regency/municipality) affairs. Water provision is considered as local affairs. On the other hand, almost all of community-based watsan initiatives are conducted at local level.

Our sources told that Law 23 is quite strict in terms of restricting provincial involvement into inter regency/municipality initiatives whereas Government Regulation 38 provides permit some intervention for water scarce areas. For now, provincial governments can intervene through "belanja hibah" (provincial grants). However, this scheme is not entirely secure. The Ministry of Interior have conducted review of the province's regional budget and conclude that such grants mechanism is incompatible with regional autonomy principles. 

We will conduct a legal analysis of regional autonomy laws and recommend feasible solution to this problem.