Half of budget for public works for eastern regions

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 01/07/2012 2:35 PM

Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto said in Jakarta on Thursday that nearly half of the Rp 62.56 trillion (US$6.8 billion) allocated to his ministry from the state budget will be used to build and repair roads and other infrastructure in eastern Indonesia. “Recently, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono summoned us to discuss projects in Papua and Maluku,” he said on the sidelines of the ministry’s working meeting in Jakarta.Djoko stressed that although the government would pay attention to more projects in the eastern part of the country, it would not neglect projects in the west, including in Java and Sumatra.

According to him, the government should always retain its focus on Java as well as Sumatra because these two islands are the backbones of the Indonesian economy.

“We should always keep an eye on the western part, especially on Java. If roads on this island were damaged, they would disrupt the economic activity there,” he said.

In a separate interview, the ministry’s head of the center for strategic study, Hediyanto W. Husaini, said the total amount of funds allocated for eastern Indonesia would be Rp 31.3 trillion, or about 50 percent of the ministry’s total budget.

The funds would be used to build and repair roads and other infrastructure facilities in eastern
Indonesia, including Papua, West Papua, East and West Nusa Tenggara, Sulawesi, Kalimantan and Maluku.

He said that Papua would receive Rp 3 trillion from its local budget and a Rp 510 billion special allocation fund (DAK), while West Papua would receive Rp 1.7 trillion from its local budget and a Rp 150 billion special allocation fund.

According to him, one of the planned projects in Papua would be the construction of a 150-kilometer road from Wamena to Yohuru.

“If there were no road construction, the seaport in Yohuru would not function,” he said.

In addition to providing access to the seaport in Yohuru, Hediyanto said that the road would connect 700,000 Wamena residents to other parts of the regency.

The project will also provide access to nearby isolated agricultural areas.

Currently, there are 150,000 hectares of agriculture land in Papua, all part of the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) project, which is sponsored by the central government to boost food production.

“Annually, we allocate around Rp 200 billion to build road access to the MIFEE agriculture areas,” Hediyanto said.

He said that the ministry would construct more roads in Maluku, including a ring road in Morotai Island in North Halmahera regency, North Maluku, as well as a road to a nickel industry in Halmahera.

He added that it was necessary to build new roads in Ambon to provide better access to the island’s shrimp producing centers. (fem)

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