Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Rethinking Creative Industry in the Presence of Oil and Gas Industry in Bojonegoro: Is There Any Other Hope?

There has been growing debates on the impact of oil industrialization on local economy development. Discussion also appears in many text book on political economy of oil, although most of the discussion are likely to deal on how oil could produce money for the people and state. But, there are much less attention on how to manage risk and deal with social economic impact of extractive industries. General theme which come to people mind is about money as a symbol of prosperity.  This paper aims to offer alternative perspective in viewing the presence of oil industry. The case study is Bojonegoro, an oil-rich region in East Java Indonesia.
The discovery of oil and gas reserves in Bojonegoro is predicted to make ​​a lot of development. Meanwhile, the problems of poverty are persistent. According to report released by Reuters, Bojonegoro as the owner of the largest crude reserves in Southeast Asia, stated at 350 million barrels is addressing the problem of poverty in line with the demand of prosperity.[1]  Due to the ownership of abundant oil reserves, Bojonegoro is placed on the fourth of the poorest districts in East Java Province.[2] As people always bring into debate that oil and gas will be a blessing to the prosperity, inspite of what people perceive on the benefit, it is important to bring understanding into the prosperity within its origin. There are two reason why it is matter.
First, oil and local economy development are supposed to have mutual interconnection, meanwhile in the other case the impact shows different situation. It is wished to make society prosper and so does the region, however many challenges do exist ahead. The government of Bojonegoro has also established a law of local content, but it is not strong enough in the realm of implementation up to its goal to advocate and ensure the involvement of local resources. Even, it comes to questions. Similarly, local government efforts to deal with a judicial review on Law No. 33/2004 to the Constitutional Court. However, oil industy to bring hope for stakeholders in Bojonegoro. Along with huge expectation from people who are expected be employed by oil industry, the NGOs ask for partnership with large companies utilizing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).  Meanwhile, local contractors seeking legitimacy gap with local content regulations to local governments, insist on asking the growing budget coverage through increased revenue-sharing. This is supported by the news media that puts oil as ‘mainstream’ which is direct the public discourse for at least understand what is going on in the oil and gas industry in Bojonegoro.
This paper does not aim to criticize the reality above. However, it cannot be denied, take the example of local government, they are doing well in dealing with the interests of people so that people be able to enjoy the blessing of oil and gas. Perhaps, mainstreaming on oil presents as the only issue in the field, so that the local government efforts to accommodate people interest. As the result, people give trust on their administration. However, as people have high expectation on oil and gas industry, whether it can be associated, they will upset that the dream turned to dust.
Second, it comes to awareness that actually oil and gas are not renewable resources. However, common view of the people on it are denied when they interpret natural resources as bless and utilize the abundance of natural resources, at least to obtain multiplier impact of it. For instance, we find huge growing of services business, restaurant, and property. It deals with a big matter when huge growing of business along with the raise of people income be spent into huge consumption. They suppose be able rely their economy  on the bless of oil, but the reality will tell them differently as oil and gas projects come to an end. However, we need to allow extractive industry on oil and gas continues to run well. In the mean time, we need to reduce over expectation on oil and gas sector. A more sustainable economy is also needed.

Bringing Creative Industries in Development Issues
Up to present, creative economy businesses comes into a happening topic in Indonesia economic development. As the turn of the nomenclature of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism into the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, creative economic enterprises implies a new hope in the equitable distribution of the national economy. Moreover, the creative economy is a means for developing a significant and sustainable economy by utilizing the potential of the sector and outside the conventional potential, for example, oil and gas as well as agriculture. The potential is certainly obtained from the innovation and creativity that arise from the exploitation of human resources so that they can contribute to the social and economic communities. Originally, the development of the creative economy can be run within the framework of creativity in 14 sub-sectors, among others: advertising, architecture, art market, crafts, design, fashion, film & video photography, interactive games, music, performing arts, publishing and printing, computer services & software, television and radio, activity-based research & development (Pangestu, 2008: xii).
Originally, creative economy in Bojonegoro has emerged, even before the oil warms dynamics. Creative potential grows as a source of cultural and economic communities. Sukorejo, Kasiman Village and Margomulyo Village are administrated as center of wooden handicrafts, Gondang as Onyx stones area and Malo as center of gerabah[3]. Presumably, it is already established businesses. Networking and marketing has been pretty extensive. Now, people seem developing creative potential, however it is based on sub crafts. The government of Bojonegoro urge their people for designing, conducting business Batik Jonegoroan[4].
Community initiatives to develop creative industry also appear on designs and T-shirt business that includes messages of local wisdom. In the form of institutions, creative businesses are actualized in the form of tourism village, for example, a tourism village of Jono, Tanjungharjo and Ringinrejo. In addition, stretching local arts community-both contemporary and tradition- are also easy to find around. We can find many public space for various communities. In other hand, growing arts community, activists of information technology, photography and modeling are also starting to show its existence.
It can be recognized, creative industries in Bojonegoro lead to the competition of creative business with the more well-established creative cities in Indonesia i.e Yogyakarta, Bandung and Solo. As people creativity has emerged, there is also well established social capital. However, we find a problem. Economic development blueprint for the creative industries has not been available yet. Potential promoted in its place are considered untouchable by capital flow and investment. While the Bojonegoro expo in the plaza entertainment, are impressed more prominent than empowering local potential.
In purpose to deal with these problems, it cannot be denied that creative industries are closely assosiated with the development of other sectors i.e construction of tourism. The existence of a tourism areas appear great tourist destination and attract many visitors. It is strategic in promoting creative business, despite it must be admitted that up to present, we can hardly find a priority sector of development in Bojonegoro. Field of tourism is allowed to proceed without a new twist though a great famous tourist destination is pride for local residents. Especially when it is able to provide multiplier impact for surrounding residents, particularly those engaged in the creative economy. Tourism village that is currently emerging be a possibility to find their own way to promote the village as a potential synergy with no major tourist potential.

Another Hope on Creative Industries
The creative potential of the people could be well-managed. Moreover, we need to demontrate great enthusiasm, which is looking for a more sustainable alternative business instead of oil and gas industry. Creative ideas are actually already available around the people,it is just needed more seriousness in developing the ideas. In addition, massive promotion and connection to the sources of stable funding are considered important. The creative potential of the people can also be connected and advocated in the discussion of local regulation on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). We hope, CSR in its various forms, delivered by oil companies operating in Bojonegoro, able to develop as well as support the empowerment of creative industries.

The only question come to my mind, has government of Bojonegoro considered the importance of creative industries as one of mainstream of economic development? Above expectations would not be a real tangible when the creative potential still sidelined or simply no facilitation after it disappeared without trace. Just wait for the creative community reach its own momentum. Nevertheless, oil industry will remain the main foundation of economic growth in Bojonegoro. (*)

*) The original article was written in Bahasa Indonesia and had its first appearance  on local printed news paper blokBojonegoro, entitled “Industri Kreatif di Tengah Industrialisasi Migas”, May 2013, co-writer: Danang Wahyuhono  

[1] See Davies Ed, ‘Indonesia’s Texas? Rural Java Braces for Oil Boom’,, 9 August 2009.
[2] Ibid.
[3] A craft made from clay
[4] This word is derived from Bojonegoro. Jonegoroan means originate from Bojonegoro.