Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The finance ministry, in its effort to reduce the burden of the state budget, is considering streamlining the number of civil servants by among others offering an early retirement.

"The number of Indonesian civil servants is fairly high and may burden the government`s budget to provide salaries, pensions and insurances," Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo said.

He said in 2012 the government must think of reducing the number of civil servants, which at present reaches 4.7 million, so that budget could be well allocated for capital expenditure.

As regards, the ministry of finance is now proposing an early retirement program for civil servants with compensation in an effort to reduce the bloated size of the civil workers` corps.

The proposal was also intended to improve the corps` productivity. "This is not only about cost cutting but it is more about increasing the productivity of civil servants. So, the idea is to employ fewer people for the same task," he said.

The ministry also offered a chance to public servants to retire voluntarily. "I myself in the directorate general of state treasury want to propose an early retirement program on a voluntary basis for civil servants aged between 50 and 55 years because this is possible under the existing law," Director General of Treasury of the Finance Ministry Agus Suprijanto said meanwhile.

He said that civil servants who wanted to voluntarily take the early retirement would receive compensation in the forms of a severance fee the amounts of which would be set later.

The director general said that the proposal on the early retirement and compensation scheme would be reported to the minister for state apparatuses and bureaucratic reforms as well as to the National Employee Body (BKN).

According to Finance Minister Martowardojo, the idea is not aimed at forcing civil servants to immediately enter retirement because the government still has the right to extend their service if their services were still needed.

"Of course, the option is in the hands of the government. If the employee concerned wishes to retire early but his/her services are still needed we will of course retain him/her. If we have no objections to his/her retiring early, we will support him/her in doing so," he said.

Deputy finance minister Anny Ratnawati meanwhile said that the early retirement program offered by the government would be done based upon performance standards. If an employee did not show improvement in his/her performance after training the government then would offer him/her to take early retirement.

Anny said the number of civil servants which is now recorded at 4.7 millions takes a lot of state budget which in fact could be used for infrastructure development.

Data at the Budgetary Directorate General of the Ministry of Finance showed that expenditure for public servants set in the 2011 state budget amounted to Rp180.8 trillion. The figures for civil servants expenditures in the state budget continued to increase from year to year.

In 2005, it was set at Rp54.3 trillion and increased in 2006 to Rp73.3 trillion, in 2007 to Rp90.4 trillion, in 2008 to Rp112.8 trillion, in 2009 to Rp127.7 trillion and in 2010 to Rp162.7 trillion.

According to Minister Martowardojo, much of the routine budget allocations for regions have so far been decided to finance government spending such as salaries while the amount of capital expenditure was very limited and consequently, the financing of infrastructure development was left neglected.

"Care must be taken as it (the higher number of civil servants) will be related not only to salaries but also old age allowances and pensions and these will all have an impact on such institutions as state insurance companies Taspen, Askes and Asabri that may have financial difficulties due to the higher number of civil servants," he said.

Therefore, it is important for the government to reduce the number of the bloating size of the public servants.

Yet, according to Home Affairs Minister Gamawan Fauzi, the discourse to reduce the number of public servants in 2012 still needed further studies.

"I cannot yet say the number of civil servants now needs to be cut. It still needs further studies. The ministry of state apparatuses and bureaucratic reforms is still conducting a study about it," Gamawan Fauzi said.

He said that the number of public servants at present was still in line with the ratio of the population number, namely about 2.4 percent. This means that 2.4 civil corps members serve 100 people.

"We cannot say that this number is big, because in the ASEAN region there is a country whose civil servant ratio is higher than ours. The problem now is that whether the present number of civil servants is already in accordance with the need or not," the home affairs minister said.

Apart from the need, the government also needs to consider the distribution of civil servants. He said some regions spent 70 percent of their regional budget for civil servants, yet there were many regions which only spent some 15 percent of their budget to pay the salaries of their civil servants.

"In principle, we support the idea of the finance minister but (we have to wait) for the results of a study by the ministry of state apparatuses and bureaucratic reforms. The leading sector is in his hand," he said.

Reporter: by Andi Abdussalam
Editor: Priyambodo RH
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