Stop making new apps, Indonesian president says

The government has gotten tired of operating a mind-boggling fleet of 27,000 made-for-government apps, with Indonesian President Joko Widodo outright demanding to “stop making new applications.”

Governments worldwide tout digital transformation as a silver bullet to combat bureaucratic inefficiency. However, digital tools are only tools, and their benefits often depend on who uses them.

Earlier this week, Indonesia’s President said that the country needs to stop making new apps because the plethora of apps that the government develops rarely make life easier. According to Widodo, government agencies tend to release a new app every time the leadership changes, confusing citizens.

According to local media reports, different government apps work in silos and duplicate functions, costing the government hundreds of millions of dollars. According to Antara, an Indonesian news agency, one of the country’s ministries operates over 500 different applications.

Central and regional governments were ordered to integrate apps and share data between different institutions as it is estimated the government spends over $388 million for apps that have little economic incentive to be made in the first place.

“For that reason, I have to say […] stop creating new applications,” said Indonesia’s head of state.

Widodo made his remarks during an event to promote the launch of INA Digital, a government project to integrate the country’s digital services.