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Go Back       Himalayan Journal of Economics and Business Management | Volume 3 Issue 3 | May 10, 2022
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DOI : 10.47310/Hjebm.2022.v03i03.001       Download PDF       HTML       XML

Factors Causing Poverty in the Indonesia-Timor Leste Borders in Nusa Tenggara Timur Province

Posma Sariguna Johnson Kennedy

Universitas Pertahanan/Universitas Kristen Indonesia, Jakarta Indonesia

*Corresponding Author

Posma Sariguna Johnson Kennedy

Article History

Received: 20.04.2022

Accepted: 30.04.2022

Published: 10.05.2022

Abstract: This paper wants to see the poverty problems and the causative factors in the Indonesian border region in the Nusa Tenggara Timur Province (NTT). The research method used by examining some literature and using quantitative descriptions with data sources is secondary data. The data obtained came from the Ministry of National Development Planning/Bappenas. The research of border areas is Belu Regency, Timor Tengah Utara, Kupang Regency, Malaka Regency, and Alor Regency. From the data findings, the entire border region must get priority attention, especially in Malaka and Alor Regency. When comprehensively viewed from various aspects, the NTT Province has an excellent opportunity to get out of poverty. The geographic position of NTT as an international gateway for Eastern Indonesia has political and economic aspects that have strong selling points. Also, marine natural resources that have not been explored and have not been adequately managed have the potential to support the economy of NTT.

Keywords: Border Region, Indonesian Border, Nusa Tenggara Timur, Poverty Problems, Timor Leste.


Various factors cause poverty in Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT). These factors include limited natural resources and disaster-prone geographic conditions, relatively limited quality of human resources, and disparity in development allocations between regions in Indonesia. The multidimensional crisis and various Government policies that are less pro-poor cause NTT to be increasingly challenging to stretch from the poverty that shatters it.

When comprehensively viewed from various aspects, the NTT Province has an excellent opportunity to get out of the cycle of poverty. The geographic position of East Nusa Tenggara, which borders 2 (two) neighboring countries and is an international gateway for Eastern Indonesia, has political and economic aspects that have strong selling points. Also, marine natural resources that have not been explored and have not been adequately managed have the potential to support the economy of NTT. In connection with this, the compilers tried to criticize various factors causing poverty in NTT and the potential that could develop to overcome them (Oceannaz, 2008a).

The percentage of poor people in rural areas of NTT is relatively larger than in its urban areas. Economic actors in NTT Province generally consist of small farmers, small fishers, small artisans in rural areas, and civic informal sector actors. For farmers who rely on food crops in relatively dry regions, their economic level is concerned. Farmers in Timor Tengah Selatan do not show better economic status than farmers who grow food even though this area is cattle stock. Likewise, the small fishers on the coast of Flores, Sumba, Alor, and Timor, their conditions cannot be classified as economically capable.

But for farmers who happen to have areas suitable for plantation commodities such as Cloves, Coffee, Vanilla, and Cashew, their economic level is quite adequate. On Sabu and Rote, some of the small-scale economic actors on the coast experienced progress thanks to seaweed cultivation. In Apui (Alor), several farmer groups that plant vanilla earn a substantial income because the price of this commodity is quite high. However, populist economic actors in rural NTT are difficult to develop because they are far from the demand (market). Now not only in physical terms but more important is accessibility. They enter the buyer's market individually without adequate institutional support. As a result, their bargaining position is fragile. Vanilla farmers in Apui (Alor) who have just enjoyed high vanilla prices are now beginning to feel that the amount of vanilla is very much determined by buyers (medium and large-scale traders). Buyers have long conquered farmers in Timor Tengah Selatan. Seaweed producers in Rote and Sabu also began to feel that many price fluctuations were severe for them to control. Meanwhile, some fishermen on Timor Island have slowly transformed into fishermen laborers (Oceannaz, 2008a).

The Central Government and the NTT Provincial Government have made various efforts to tackle poverty. The NTT regional development strategy is based on growth through equity with the building principle of what the people have and what is on the people, focusing on development based on people's economic development, education, and health. The development strategy that is the choice requires operational steps that are measurable and adapted to the new development paradigm. Based on the explanation above, the researcher wants to see the problem of poverty and causal factors in the border region between Indonesia and Timor-Leste in the Province of NTT.


Poverty is a multidimensional problem. Ellis in Suharto (2010) said that economically, debt could be defined as a lack of resources to fulfill living needs and improve the welfare of a group of people. Resources in the economic context do involve not only financial aspects but also include all types of wealth that can improve people's welfare in a broad sense. According to BPS (2008), various problems of poverty can be grouped into four terms, namely absolute poverty, relative poverty, cultural poverty, and structural poverty.

In terms of subjective poverty, each person bases his thoughts on stating that his needs are not fulfilled sufficiently even though, in absolute terms or the fact the person is not relatively weak. "Subjective poverty occurs because individuals generalize wants with needs.

The definition of absolute poverty is a condition where a person or family has income but is not sufficient to fulfill their minimum daily needs efficiently. According to BPS, absolute poverty is determined based on the inability of a person or group of people to meet their minimum basic needs such as food, clothing, health, housing, and education. Minimum basic requirements are translated as financial measures in the form of money, and the minimum value of basic needs is known as the poverty line. Therefore, residents whose income is below the poverty line are classified as weak. According to BPS (2008), the definition of relative poverty is "a poor condition because of the influence of development policies that have not been able to reach all levels of society, causing inequality in income distribution." BPS stated that minimum standards were prepared based on the living conditions of a country at a particular time and focused attention on the sparse population. The measure of relative poverty is very dependent on income distribution or population expenditure. As stated by BPS, the definition of relative poverty refers to the gap in income and expenditure between regions within a country or between countries in the world.

The definition of relative poverty is related to relative deprivation. The ability to meet the needs of a person or a family is in a position corresponding to other community members living in one area. This concept is closely related to income inequality. According to BPS, the definition of relative poverty tends to lead to a poverty measure set by the Government towards the Community.

According to Suparlan in Masjkuri (2007), "poverty is a low standard of living, namely the existence of a lack of material in several groups of people compared to the standard of living that generally applies in the Community concerned. This low standard of living affects the health, moral life, and sense of self-worth of those classified as poor". Suparlan views poverty as a related problem in a person or group of people in a region. This definition of poverty also refers to differences in the social and economic status of community members. It is seen that there is no standard measure used to establish an individual or group condition as an inferior condition.

The absence of standard measurements regarding the relatively poor condition, on the one hand, makes it easy to determine the target group of empowerment based on observations and analyses of differences in the social and economic conditions of the Community in a community. But on the other hand, the absence of a standardized standard for determining poverty levels in terms of relative poverty has a weakness. Namely, there is no standard condition in the empowerment program. This relative poverty will continue to occur because when the target group is empowered and reaches the level of welfare sure, there is always the possibility of a capable family group being used as a comparison to improve the quality of life and prosperity.

There is a direct link between the notion of relative poverty with the idea of subjective destitution. Someone or group of people feel poor not only because they are unable to meet their needs and desires, but they feel deprived because they compare themselves to others who, according to them, have a better life and socioeconomic status. Vice versa, there are people or groups of people who view other people as poor people because they compare their ability to the inability of other people or groups (Oceannaz, 2008a).

Individuals or groups who feel poor are many who have high motivation to overcome their problems and tend to make various ways and efforts to get out of the poor conditions they experience. However, poor conditions are considered a matter of course in specific individuals or groups, lasting for a long time and even passed down from generation to generation. Poverty, as a matter to Taylor (2007), is referred to as 'the condition of the habit of suffering.' Taylor said that: "Simple living patterns exist in rather stable and stronger communities, even those patterns are increasing. The environment in which they are born and grow, in many ways, is easier to deal with than new cultures that need adjustment and perhaps even worrying.

The condition of the suffering and poverty trap, as described by Taylor, is mainly seen in groups that have always been in the lowest social strati fi cation. Community groups like this tend to accept poverty as fate. They do not seize opportunities in the development and development around them, even often reluctant or afraid to start something new.

Certain poor groups are challenging to empower even though they have received assistance from the Government because a culture of poverty influences their attitudes and behavior. According to Lewis (1966), "the poverty culture develops in the poor lives who from generation to generation live in poverty." According to Lewis in Masjkuri (2007), the definition of poverty culture is "an adaptation or adjustment and at the same time is the reaction of the poor to their marginal position in a class-class society, very individualistic and characterized by capitalism."

The definition of the culture of poverty started by Oscar Lewis is used by various parties as a reference to formulate the meaning of cultural impoverishment, including BPS. According to BPS (2008), "cultural poverty is caused by a particular area's traditional and cultural factors that hold people in contact with the poverty indicator." BPS believes that these indicators should be reduced or even gradually eliminated by ignoring customary and cultural factors that prevent a person from making a change towards a better level of life. The definition of cultural poverty stated by BPS refers to the attitude of a person or society caused by cultural, traditional, and systematic factors that tend to direct the Community to apathy, "Grimm" or surrender to fate, wasteful and even not creative even though there is assistance from outside parties. Also, cultural poverty does not occur suddenly but is caused by the process of fundamental social change, such as the transition from feudalism to the culture of capitalism.

According to Suyanto in BPS (2008), "structural poverty is poverty that is suspected or distorted due to unfavorable conditions of structure or order of life. Poverty in such structural conditions is not caused by natural factors or personal factors of the poor themselves but by an unfair social order. This wrong order has caused many people to fail to access the resources needed to develop themselves and to improve the quality of their lives ".

The definition of structural poverty, as stated by Suyanto (in BPS, 2008) illustrates that, “poverty experienced by the Community is caused by factors that originate from outside the Community itself. These factors are mainly thought to originate from the Government and the power structures that influence people's lives. The causal factors in structural poverty include social policies that are not pro-people, excessive control of resources by the Government, a development that is not equitably allocated, and the limited opportunities are given to the Community to act as subjects in development.”

According to Bappenas (2004), the definition of poverty tends to lead to the terminology of structural poverty because it contains the meaning and purpose of the State to provide equal opportunities for all people to fulfill their needs as fundamental human rights and as citizens. The formulation of this definition is indeed inseparable from the interests of Bappenas as a government agency that has the task of designing various development policies and programs for the Community.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and the Central Bureau of Statistics define poverty as the inability of individuals to meet the minimum basic needs for a decent life. The poverty line or poverty line is the minimum level of income deemed necessary to obtain adequate living standards in a country. In practice, the official or public understanding of the poverty line (and the definition of poverty) is higher in developed countries than in developing countries. This poverty line is the income limit needed to meet the minimum needs of calories the body needs for activities, coupled with non-food needs (housing, clothing, education, health, transportation, and other basic needs). Because income data is not available, the consumption data (expenditure) approach is used. Including expenditures estimates the value of goods and services consumed originating from their production and gifts from other parties. (Firanitustita, 2015)


The research method describes the data sources and secondary data as secondary data. The data obtained comes from the Ministry of PPN/Bappenas, Deputy for Regional Development. The data taken is dedicated to the results of the analytical method with a systematic approach, namely the themes within a planning period. In this paper, the issue of poverty in the Indonesian border region in East Nusa Tenggara.

It will synchronize these thematic data with the holistic, integrative, and spatial analysis results. "Holistic" is a thematic translation into a comprehensive technocratic plan starting from the downstream of a series of activities, reviewing all components, and considering the time series. "Integrative" is an effort to integrate the implementation of program planning from the role of ministries/institutions/ regions / other stakeholders and efforts to integrate various funding sources. Whereas "spatial" is the collaboration of programs in one region and the interrelationships between areas (PP RI, 2017).

The thematic for this study focuses on poverty. The analysis of this system aims to map districts/cities in the East Nusa Tenggara province, which has a thematic composite value with low, medium, and high achievement levels. This thematic composite value uses the elements of its formation category, namely (1) availability, (2) accessibility, (3) affordability, and (4) stability. Availability categories with poor components where the indicators are the percentage of poverty, poverty depth index, and poverty severity index. Accessibility categories with essential service components. The indicators are: the percentage of the number of poor children attending school; the percentage of poor individuals who have chronic diseases; the rate of poor households (RTM) that have their own houses or contracts/leases; the portion of RTM using drinking water is feasible; RTM percentages that use their own/shared latrines; RTM percentages that use electric lighting (from state or private); steady road conditions. Affordability category with a significant component of services. The indicators are the realization of the Hope Family Program (PKH), the PKH target, and the percentage of PKH recipients. Stability categories with disaster risk components. The indicator is the Indonesia district/city Disaster Risk Index. (Bappenas, 2017)


4.1. Profile of East Nusa Tenggara and its Border Areas

Profile of East Nusa Tenggara Province (Pemprov NTT, 2018)

Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT) Province is located at 8° - 12° South Latitude and 118° - 125° East Longitude. Geographically, East Nusa Tenggara is located in the southernmost part of Indonesia. In the west, it is bordered by West Nusa Tenggara Province, on the north bordering the Makassar Strait, in the east bordering Makuku Province and the Democratic Republic of Timor Leste, and on the south bordering the Indonesian Ocean. The land area in this Province is 47,349.9 Km², and the sea area is ± 200,000 Km². The Province of NTT has a very typical climate. The rainy season is relatively short (3-4 months a year), with an average rainfall of around 800 - 3,000 mm per year and an ordinary rainy day of 100 days per year (BMG NTT, 2006). Minimum and maximum temperatures range from 23o - 34o C. Climate cause East Nusa Tenggara Province to be classified as a semi-arid climate (dry land). Topographic conditions NTT is less profitable. All islands have a topography that is dominantly hilly and mountainous. Relatively flat land generally extends along the coast or is flanked by highlands or hills. Land with slopes above 40% reaches 35.07% of the total land area. Likewise, with a property with a 15-40%, reaching 35.46%. Thus, relatively flat land (slope of less than 15%) is only 29.47% of the total land area.

NTT Province has ethnic diversity. More than 20 ethnolinguistic groups do not have a strong tradition of togetherness. This separation is also influenced by the mountainous presence and topography constraints, and the condition of the islands. The economic structure of NTT Province relies on the agricultural sector and government services. It can be seen from the contribution of each industry to GDP. The agricultural sector contributed 37.69%, followed by the government service sector at 20.25%, the trade sector at 14.20%, the transportation and communication sector at 10.76%, and the construction sector and construction at 6.5%, while other areas contributed less than 5%.

Border Region of East Nusa Tenggara Province

The Community condition along the border, in general, is classified as poor or has a low level of welfare. The primary source of livelihood for people in the border area is dryland agriculture. The potential of the Indonesia-Timor Leste border region can be seen in the following description.

a. Belu Regency (Matondang, 2013)

Belu Regency has strategic values ​​for business and tourism purposes. The economic development in Belu Regency shows that it is quite significant. This region also supports the economy of the country of Timor Leste in meeting its needs. Belu's position on the Indonesia-Timor Leste border and at the crossing point of East Flores and Timor Tengah Utara District (TTU) is strategic in developing trade. Some people in Belu use this. Although the intensity of the business is still small, the people of Belu have conducted trade activities with Timor Leste. So, the trade sector can be said as one of Belu's potential. Besides trade, agriculture is also an important sector for Belu because it is related to food procurement. The industry is also a potential that has not been well developed in Belu. The industry that developed in Belu, in general, is a labor-intensive home industry, so that can say that Belu human resources have more valuable skills.

b. Timor Tengah Utara (TTU) Regency (Matondang, 2013)

TTU Regency has conditions that are not much different from Belu. However, gradually the TTU did not depend on the agricultural sector. The number of people working in the agricultural sector began to decline, while workers in the secondary and tertiary sectors increased. It shows the progress of the people's mindset and encourages the formation of more diverse employment opportunities. Nevertheless, agriculture is one of the crucial sectors for TTU. It is related to the procurement of food for the people in the region.

c. Kupang Regency (Matondang, 2013)

Kupang Regency has the same capital as the capital city of NTT Province. However, as part of the border region, the development of the Kupang Regency is still under Belu and TTU. Even though Kupang Regency's land is more extensive than Belu and TTU, its natural products have not been able to meet the local Community's food needs. Kupang Regency does not have significant potential in the agricultural sector. The amount of agricultural produce is less than the rice yield in TTU and Belu, which has smaller land. However, Kupang Regency has potential in animal husbandry and fisheries. Entrepreneurs in the fisheries sector in Kupang Regency have a considerable potential to be developed. The region with the largest cattle population and livestock in NTT, Kupang Regency, can be developed and produce optimal results if managed properly.

d. Malaka Regency (BPK-RI)

Malaka is a new autonomous region resulting from the division of Belu Regency with the central Government located in Betun. Geographically, Malacca Regency is located at coordinates 9° 34′ South Latitude and 124° 54′ East Longitude, located in the southern part of Timor Island in the Belu Regency area. The topography of Malacca Regency consists of coasts, lowlands, valleys, and mostly hills in the north with an altitude of 0-800 meters above sea level (masl). The highest point is on Mount Mandeu in the District of East Malaka, on the border of Belu Regency. Malacca Regency has a coastline of 82.94 km.

e. Alor Regency (

The agricultural sector still dominates the economic structure of the Alor Regency. Most of the people's livelihoods are from small-scale agriculture and fisheries. Also, there are still people who live in fields or gardens on the move by clearing thicket forests. Nevertheless, the contribution from the agricultural sector to the economy of this region is still relatively small. Many agricultural patterns are traditional agriculture, where agricultural products are used more by themselves. Other aspects are meager market prices, lack of infrastructure, and lack of knowledge about agricultural techniques. But the regional Government tried to improve infrastructure and use of agricultural equipment to improve the local economy. It introduces new trade commodities and agricultural techniques, and some have worked well. For example, Apui Village is well-known as a producer of high-quality vanilla. Results such as turmeric, seaweed, tamarind, candlenut, areca nut, coffee, and sandalwood are brought to ports throughout Indonesia. Examples of Alor natural products on the international market are colored gravel, vanilla, pearls, and see lack. Even though it is so far from the center of trade and foreign ports, Alor is located right in front of the State of Timor-Leste, which makes it so strategic as a trade route. Also, historically, Alor and Timor-Leste have long been close neighbors. It is expected that trade relations and export networks that have been established in the past will soon be reopened and can provide excellent opportunities for both parties. The mountainous and hilly configuration of the mainland area of ​​Alor Regency provides a different climate for the development of various agricultural, food crop, plantation, forestry, and livestock commodities while as an archipelago with extensive waters and rich in multiple types of fish and non-fish marine products and beautiful marine parks.

4.2. Theoretical Review of the Causes of Poverty in NTT (Oceannaz, 2008b)

The thinking of the NTT Regional Government is more colored by the Neo-Liberal theory, which states that poverty is "an individual problem caused by weaknesses and or choices of the individual concerned." Poverty in East Nusa Tenggara is seen as 'market' inability and low economic growth. Post regional autonomy, all Provinces, including NTT, compete to increase Regional Original Income from various sectors. This Original Regional Income is expected to increase the regional economic growth rating, which can then increase the welfare of its population. It clearly shows that the principle of 'laissez-faire' proposed by Adam Smith has penetrated the mindset and development of the Government in East Nusa Tenggara. In poverty alleviation carried out through the support of the Ministry of Social Affairs, it is always 'challenging' for the Regional Government to provide the maximum budget for social welfare as a sharing or companion fund so that the Ministry of Social Affairs allocates a larger budget.

The Social Democrats view that poverty occurs more due to structural inequality, social inequality, and regional development disparities. The inability of NTT so far to increase its economic growth was due to a lack of support from the Central Government in providing capital for the exploration of natural resources and improving the quality of human resources. Regional autonomy and the expansion of several regions into new districts are the right steps to bring essential social services closer to the Community. The election of regional heads with a direct election system by the people is a positive step in the framework of learning and maturing the people in politics and democracy. Equality, an essential prerequisite in gaining independence and freedom as stated in the Social Democratic concept, has begun to color the patterns of Regional Government.

Poverty, understood by activists of social workers, is more seen as a structural problem. Still contradict, Social Workers emphasize social functioning to get out of the cycle of poverty that traps individuals, families, groups, and communities. The Strategy of Social Workers in tackling poverty is an increase the ability of the poor to carry out their life duties according to their status. Social Work uses both approaches. On the one hand, efforts to improve the capabilities of individuals, families, and society are significant efforts that must be made so that everyone can fulfill the basic needs of his life so that he is finally able to determine his choices.

On the other hand, social advocacy efforts are necessary to influence and or change various government policies that are not pro-poor. The Ministry of Social Affairs began using this perspective in multiple programs. The Assistance Provision or financial support as a basic income for the poor to fulfill their daily needs has already started to be implemented. The Family Hope Program for low-income families with certain conditions and Social Welfare Insurance for workers in the informal sector is provided as a basic income or essential income substitute for low-income families when experiencing unstable economic conditions. Thus, low-income families are expected to have the basic income to fulfill their daily needs.

Various internal and external factors cause poverty in NTT. The view of Neo-Liberals who 'blame' individuals for their ignorance and laziness so that being poor may be appropriate for several aspects of life in NTT. The Customs and culture of the very wasteful people and concerned with prestige make almost all their income absorbed for various customary events. Work satisfaction with a low level of comfort, which is only working to meet drinking food needs, causes the fighting power of most people to be relatively small as well. Many residents of NTT see that the natural conditions are arid, hard water and consist of rocks are the destiny of God, and they surrender to that fate.

From various other aspects, it needs to be realized that structural causes of poverty, as stated by the Social Democrats, have caused NTT to be increasingly unable to escape the poverty trap. Economic growth in NTT is meager due to limited natural resources and the absence of central government support to diversify and develop productive business sectors in the area. Infrastructure development in this area is carried out only 'just like that.' The Central Government seems to see NTT 'only as part of the territory of Indonesia but not an area that deserves to be 'taken into account in its potential because it does not contribute to the economic field of the State. After the independence of East Timor, almost all Departments are competing to allocate development budgets for the NTT Province. It happens not because NTT has become a region with strategic value in the field of natural resources or human resources but rather the strategic political value of NTT bordering Timor Leste and Australia. The Government seems to realize that if poverty continues to be protracted, the Community may try to break away from the NKRI and join other countries. The Government might learn from the bitter experience of the Integration process until East Timor's independence.

The higher allocation of the development budget from the Central Government has not been addressed wisely by the Regional Government. The development and government pattern that is still closely tied to the Neo-Liberalist streams still demands the Regency/City to increase Regional Original Income in the economic sector. The East Nusa Tenggara Provincial Government has not seen human resources as the initial development capital for the region. Expansion of the area into new districts is considered a gift because local sons have many opportunities to fill structural positions with all facilities to be obtained. The provincial budget is more absorbed for the process of regional head elections than for the construction of infrastructure needed by people living in areas that are difficult to reach.

4.3. Profile and Problems of Poverty in the NTT Border Region

The economic growth of NTT Province at the beginning of the 2018 quarter was 5.19% (YoY), lower than the fourth quarter of 2017 of 5.29% (YoY) but still higher than the national growth of 5.06% (YoY). The slowdown was mainly contributed by government consumption expenditure and Gross Fixed Capital Formation or investment. However, the economic downturn was entirely restrained by stronger household consumption supported by the increased purchasing power of the people. On the other hand, the growth of net imports between regions of NTT Province is still relatively stable. NTT Province's inflation at the beginning of the 2018 quarter was still relatively under control. In January, the increase in inflation could be dampened by considerable deflation in February and March 2018. The rise in inflation was mainly due to the increase in volatile food inflation, the scarcity of national rice, and the high price of race chicken in early 2018. As for Administered price commodity inflation and core, inflation was still relatively well maintained. The development of the labor and welfare sector showed an increase at the beginning of 2018. The Open Unemployment Rate in February 2018 was recorded to decline to 2.98% or as much as 76.3 thousand people compared to February 2017, which was 3.21% or 80.25 thousand souls. The decline in TPT was driven mainly by an increase of 13,934 workers in the Government Administration along with the addition of new jobs as a companion to the Government's Social Program. Also, the welfare of rural communities indicated through Farmer Exchange Rates shows an increase compared to the first quarter of 2017 (BI, 2018).

The number of poor people in NTT in March 2018 was 1,142.17 thousand people (21.35 percent), which increased by about 7,430 people compared to the poor population in September 2017, which amounted to 1,134.74 thousand people (21.38 percent). Based on the area of ​​residence, from the September 2017 period - to March 2018, the number of poor people in rural areas rose by 4,510 (from 1,015.70 thousand people to 1,020.21 thousand people), and for urban regions also increased by 2,910 people (from 119.04 thousand people become 121.95 thousand people). In the September 2017 – March 2018 period, the Poverty Line (GK) rose by 2.35 percent, from Rp 346,737 - per capita per month in September 2017 to Rp 354,898 - per capita per month in March 2018. The role of food commodities in Line Poverty is far more significant than the part of non-food products (housing, clothing, education, and health). In March 2018, the contribution of GK was 78.59 percent, a slight decrease compared to the September 2017 period, which was 78.83 percent. From September 2017 - to March 2018, the Poverty Depth Index and the Poverty Severity Index decreased. The Poverty Depth Index fell from 4,158 in September 2017 to 3,908 in March 2018. The same thing also happened in the Poverty Severity Index, down from 1,174 to 1,026 in the same period (BPS, 2018).

The findings of the thematic method of poverty on the NTT border region with the State of Timor Leste based on Bapenas data can be seen in Table 1 below (Bapenas, 2017):

Table 1. Result of Poverty Analysis in East Nusa Tenggara Border Region



Status 1

Status 2

Status 3

Status 4




Timor Tengah Utara







Source: Modified of Analysis of Profile Formation and Regional Analysis (Bapenas, 2017)

Notes: Status1: Availability; Status2: Accessibility; Status3: Affordability; Status4: Applicability: Status5: Stability. Color Description: Red: Low Status, Priority 1; Green: Medium Status, Priority 2; Blue: High Status, Priority 3.

From the table above, the areas that must be considered a top priority in poverty alleviation are Malaka and Alor Regencies, then Kupang and Belu Regencies. From the results above, the main problem in poverty cases in the NTT border areas is (Bapenas, 2017):

  1. Availability Terms. The main issues are the high percentage of the poor, the index of depth, and the severity of poverty in several districts/cities. Programs that need to be held are Social empowerment, Social protection and security, and the Handling of the poor. With the activities carried out are: Individual, family, and community institutional social empowerment; Empowerment of Remote Indigenous Communities; Social protection of victims of natural disasters; Social protection of victims of common accidents; Family social security; and Handling of poor rural, urban, coastal, small islands and borders between countries. It is recommended that the Regional Government and the Ministry of Social Affairs implement these programs and activities.

  2. Accessibility Terms. The main problem is that the access of the poor to essential services still needs to be improved in several districts/cities. Programs that need to be held are Primary and secondary education; Strengthening the implementation of national health insurance; Development of health services; Fostering and developing residential infrastructure; Housing development, and Electricity service improvement. The activities that need to be carried out are: the Provision of educational assistance through the Smart Indonesia Card; Development of health financing and National Health Insurance / Healthy Indonesia Cards; Improvement of health care facilities; Development of Drinking Water Supply Systems; Construction of flats; Proper sanitation provision; Increasing village electricity. Preferably these programs and activities are implemented by the Government; Regional Ministry of Education and Culture; Ministry of Religion; Ministry of Health; Minister For Public Works and Human Settlements; and PT. State Electricity Company.

  3. Affordability Terms. The main problem is that the beneficiaries of social protection and social security programs have not been optimal. The plan that needs to be held is social protection and security. Activities that need to be carried out are: improving governance of social welfare and security programs and the increased supervision of the implementation of social protection and insurance programs. It is recommended that the Regional Government and the Ministry of Social Affairs implement these programs and activities.

  4. Stability Terms. The main problem is that the disaster risk index in several districts/cities is relatively high. With activities that need to be carried out are: Disaster risk prevention and reduction; Community empowerment in disaster preparedness; Preparation of preparedness and mitigation plans in the event of a disaster; Installation of early warning systems; Resilient village formation; Increased information dissemination on failure (disaster awareness culture); and Prepare an evacuation route in the event of a disaster. Preferably these programs and activities are implemented by the Regional Government and the National Disaster Management Agency.

In managing border areas and the regional Government and relevant ministries, those responsible in the border area are the National Border Management Agency (BNPP) from the central Government and the Indonesian National Army as guardians of defense and security of the border area. (Kennedy, 2018)

Poverty alleviation in NTT requires a variety of approaches in response efforts. In several aspects relating to the pattern of life and the Community's work ethic, strategic plans need to be used that aim to change the habits and behavior of individuals, families, and society. To change this pattern and practice, the Central Government and Regional Governments need to implement socially equitable development and provide equal opportunities for all people to obtain essential social services to improve their capabilities. In aspects relating to the economic and Government sectors, the things that need to be done are the acceleration of infrastructure development in all regions, exploration of natural resources, and management of natural resource management that benefits the Government and the Community, as well as improving the quality of human resources (Oceannaz, 2010).

Although a lot of aid has been channeled to the city, the progress and success of the community in improving their social welfare level is relatively low. It is evidenced, among others, by the statistical data on the poor, which are still relatively high. The Government's monitoring, monitoring, and evaluation indicate that most of the assistance provided to the Community does not develop and even tends to run out without a trace. The pattern of life of beneficiaries has not changed, and the level of Social Welfare has not increased (remains poor). If viewed from the performance-based budget system implemented in Indonesia and the stages in community empowerment programs, including those in NTT Province, the assistance provided by the Government should have leverage on the standard of living and Community Social Welfare. It cannot use Relatively inadequate budget allocations and limited time for implementing activities (guidance and assistance) to justify the failure to use aid and other reasons (Oceannaz, 2010).


The areas that must be considered a top priority in poverty alleviation are Malaka and Alor Regencies, then Kupang and Belu Regencies. The factors that led to the slow pace of poverty reduction efforts and the improvement of Community Social Welfare and the factors that caused the failure of various Government programs in the NTT Province can be summarized as follows:

  • Unfavorable conditions in the NTT Province have resulted in low investor interest in exploring underground natural resources. It then affects the low level of Regional Revenue.

  • The limited natural remedies that can be extracted and utilized include the causes of poverty in the NTT Province.

  • Assistance allocated by the Government for community empowerment efforts is not to the geographic and seasonal conditions (weather) in NTT Province.

  • Monitoring and evaluation carried out by Government Agencies (Central and Regional) are very partial and only carried out in a relatively short time. In the implementation of monitoring and evaluation, there is no analysis of various factors supporting success or the factors that cause failure in the management of assistance.

  • The pattern of life and culture of the people in NTT tends to be very wasteful.

  • The quality of human resources is relatively low in managing natural resources and available assistance. It can be seen from the inability of most people to process raw materials into semi-finished materials or finished materials.

  • Low social responsibility Government agencies guide the Community in managing and utilizing the assistance provided.

  • Low social responsibility for their own lives and assistance provided by the Government.

The forms of priority activities that must carry out to accelerate poverty reduction in NTT, among others, are:

  • Road infrastructure development connects communities in isolated locations to economic institutions and essential social services adequately and proportionately.

  • It has increased public access to essential health services and the provision of medical personnel and medicines.

  • Public awareness of the importance of education and providing free schools, the addition of teaching staff, and adequate educational facilities/infrastructure.

  • Excavation and or Provision of adequate clean water.

  • Community empowerment in the economic field with business diversification.

  • Special services through social welfare institutions for the poor who belong to the group of people with social welfare problems.

  • Awaken to the values ​​of modern social welfare and changing the understanding and traditional life patterns of the people who are wasteful towards culture and customs towards a model of life that has a high work culture while remaining tied to local wisdom and social institutions that apply to the Community.

What needs to be watched out for and noticed could be that one day the people of NTT will be tempted to ask for help and join other countries that are seen as able to defend and improve their capabilities and quality of life. If the Central Government continues to view this Province as a 'pity' area and not as an area that needs to be 'valued for its uniqueness, dignity and development, and potential.'


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