PATTIRO Holds Local Governance Forum to Discuss the Issue of Village-Owned Enterprises
By Ahmad Romdoni *
PATTIRO organized the Local Governance Forum [i] (LGF) on Guarding the Implementation of the Village Law Series on Wednesday, 7 September 2016 in Jakarta with the theme “Strengthening Village-Owned Enterprises (BUM Desa) to Strengthen the Rural Economy”. Present at the meeting was the village research team from PATTIRO, activists of various civil society organizations that focus on rural issues, and a number of representatives of the government as policy makers.
PATTIRO Executive Director Sad Dian Utomo explained that LGF on Guarding the Implementation of Village Law Series is a means for PATTIRO to convey the findings from a number of villages to policy makers associated with the villages. “Through this forum, PATTIRO will deliver a range of policy recommendations that have been compiled in the form of policy briefs to the relevant stakeholders,” he said.
Before starting the discussion with policy makers from the Ministry of Villages, Rural Development and Transmigration (Kemendesa PDTT) and the Coordinating Ministry of Human and Cultural Development (Kemenko PMK), PATTIRO researcher Agus Salim described findings in villages in three regencies, Siak, Kebumen and Bantul, regarding the problems related to the establishment and management of BUM Desa. “There are at least four factors that explain why BUM Desa has been unable to move the village economy,” he said.
The first problem, Agus mentioned, is the lack of initiative from the government and the rural community in establishing BUM Desa. Based on PATTIRO’s findings, of the four researched villages, only one village took the initiative to establish a BUM Desa. According to Agus, the initiative of BUM Desa should arise from the government and village community through village meetings. “This is because the village itself (government and public) understands the true potential and needs of the village,” he added.
Additionally, PATTIRO finds that the position of BUM Desa as a social and commercial institution is still unclear. In practice, so far, BUM Desa has only been focused on business interests to generate profit. According to Agus, BUM Desa should also function as a social institution that can contribute to the welfare of society as a whole.
Agus also mentioned that the current policy has also not led to the improvement of the level of professionalism in the management of BUM Desa. In Minister of Villages Regulation (Permendesa) No. 4 of 2015 on BUM Desa and Government Regulation No. 43 of 2015 on Villages, there are no articles that clearly explain what elements may serve as managers of BUM Desa. “As a result there are several BUM Desa that are managed by members of the BPD (Village Consultative Body). The BPD should be charged with overseeing the management of BUM Desa. It is thus not professional if BPD oversees its own members,” said Agus.
The fourth problem, which according to Agus is no less crucial, is the lack of guidance from the government at the levels above the village to the BUM Desa to develop. Results of the PATTIRO study show that even if the government above the village provides guidance, it is done only in order to carry out its own agenda. As a result, guidance to the BUM Desa is not given gradually and in an orderly manner.
Further, after describing the findings, Agus also delivered five recommendations that can be done by the central government to strengthen BUM Desa so that they can stimulate the village economy. These recommendations include, reinforcing the role of guidance from the governments above the village level, strengthening the existence of BUM Desa created from the initiative of the villages, identifying early on the potentials of the village, and harmonizing regulations on the management of BUM Desa.
In response to the five recommendations, Director of Business Development of the Kemendesa PDTT Sugeng Riyono appreciates PATTIRO’s step in guarding the implementation of the Village Law. Sugeng, who was also one of the speakers in the forum, said that there are other crucial issues in the management of BUM Desa.
“The lack of availability of human resources in managing BUM Desa is also an issue that we have (Kemendesa PDTT) highlighted. Therefore, I hope that BUM Desa are formed through village meetings as mandated by Permendesa No. 4 of 2015 on BUM Desa and managed in an amicable manner, according to the mandate of the 1945 Constitution. This is so the government and villagers will have a strong sense of ownership of BUM Desa,” said Sugeng.
Related to PATTIRO’s recommendations regarding the regularizing of the regulations on BUM Desa, Sugeng said that Kemendesa PDTT has not yet focused on the issue. “Presently, our priority (Kemendesa PDTT) is that BUM Desa are operating. Later on, we will slowly arrange the regulations. If we wait until all the regulations are arranged, the BUM Desa will not begin to operate,” he concluded.
In line with Sugeng, the Assistant Deputy of Village Empowerment from the Coordinating Ministry of Human and Cultural Development (Kemenko PMK) Herbert Siagian, also appreciates PATTIRO’s work in guarding the implementation of the Village Law. He added, in addition to being based on the principle of amicability, management of BUM Desa should also be based on the potentials of the villages. “The establishment of the BUM Desa can be categorized into three areas, namely profit taking (business), public services, and support for rural services. Whatever is chosen should be based on the potentials of the villages so that the BUM Desa can continue to exist and thrive,” said Herbert.
In closing the discussion, PATTIRO Daily Advisor Maya Rostanty officially handed the Policy Brief on Strengthening Village-Owned Enterprises to Stimulate the Rural Economy to Sugeng and Herbert as representatives from policy makers at the central level. “PATTIRO expect, that the policy brief can be acted upon by the government through the creation of policies that could strengthen the role of BUM Desa in stimulating the economy of the village so that BUM Desa can bring prosperity for the rural communities,” said Maya.