A PROGRAMME TO BE PROUD OF
By Kuntoro Mangkusubroto
The Executing Agency for the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Aceh-Nias (BRR)
The Japanese assistance to our country in response to the earthquake and tsunami disaster in Aceh and Nias has been impressive to say the least. Your government has committed \30 billion in bilateral and multilateral aid to our recovery programme. This is a significant amount by any standard and a most welcome contribution to our recovery efforts.
lt is inevitable that any large programme of this nature will face criticism from well- meaning people who claim the programme is not operating in the best way possible. I can assure your readers that Japan's programme is not only well-managed but also well-designed and delivered in a way that responds directly to the needs of our rehabilitation programme. The Japanese contributions are well-targeted and moving forward at a steady, assured and satisfactory pace. I am likewise satisfied that the procurement processes adopted by the Japanese programme are above reproach.I consider them to be fair, proper and appropriate.
l do not say these things lightly. The Aceh-Nias rehabilitation and reconstruction programme is vast in scale, challenging in complexity and highly demanding geographically. Those who work on the programme, be they in Tokyo or on the ground in Aceh and Nias, deserve our highest praise and strongest support. Their's is an onerous job. It demands the highest standards of rigor in programme governance and project delivery.
l have been particularly pleased with the broad range of support initiatives that form part of the Japanese programme. These range across education, water and drainage, road development on the west coast, document recovery and preservation, the supply of medical aid and medicines along with seven other programme areas. In each case, the Japan International Cooperation System (JICS) has worked closely with the various areas of my government responsible for determining the needs and priorities of communities. These agencies include my own along with relevant central government ministries and local government departments.
The level of coordination required is significant. The Japanese bilateral assistance to the Aceh-Nias recovery programme totals \16billion. Of this, \14.6 billion is administered by JICS. The work in planning and coordinating the overall programme is extensive and, given the circumstances, also intensive.
I am thankful to JICS for opening an important office in Aceh staffed by several experts. This move establishes a significant presence in Aceh for which the programme can continue to be responsive to local needs. Having spoken to the JICS staff I am pleased with the programme of regular information sharing that they are establishing with local governments. Given JICS' excellent role in establishing strong governance frameworks for procurement supported by the highest standards of due diligence in associated business practices, the JICS office will play an important role in promoting the same standards and practices in local government. This will contribute to one of our core programme objectives: to raise the standard and capacity of local government particularly in the area of procurement.
The Japanese programme is one of which the Japanese people can be justifiably proud. It was quickly conceived in the urgent circumstances of a major catastrophe. It has likewise been well designed and professionally delivered in a manner that is truly responsive to the needs of a community in desperate circumstances. My government and the people of Aceh and Nias gratefully appreciate and give due thanks to the your political leaders and professional programme administrators for their generosity and professionalism in this hour of great need.
16 May 2006