Wishing to Build Soon Trans Sumatra Roads and Kalimantan Toll Roads, Jokowi: Ill Take Charge of the Money
President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) expressed his wishes to undertake soon a number of infrastructure projects, like Trans Sumatra roads, Trans Sumatra railways, Kalimantan toll roads, and Kalimantan railways. He even wanted to realize his wishes as soon as possible and he demanded that such projects must start next year.
In Lampung yesterday, I summoned the ministers, like the Minister of Transportation, the Minister of Public Works, and the Minister of State-Owned Enterprises. We have pointed the locations and made the decisions. The projects mustve started in next February, President Jokowi said when he was delivering his general lecture in front of Yogyakarta Gadjah Mada Universitys (UGMs) community of scholars on Tuesday (8/12).
President Jokowi admitted that several ministers asked him about how to obtain the money to undertake such projects. He asserted that in his capacity as the President, he will take charge of the money.
I give the instructions because I really know how much money we have. Its unlikely that I give the instructions while we dont have the money. There must be those, including some ministers, who dont know yet how to obtain the money, but I already know. Thats the difference between ministers and the President, President Jokowi continued.
President Jokowi stated that one of our main problems lies in logistics and distribution. There are many products produced in forests or isolated areas which cannot be transported or distributed to cities or other areas because of lack of means of transportation. Thats where our problem lies.
Infrastructures, intercity connectivity, and interisland connectivity are crucial and become our main keys. China can make dramatic leaps because of its infrastructures which were built quickly, President Jokowi stated.
Therefore, President Jokowi said, we will build 24 harbors. He wants all ministers to start building soon. As regards the money, he confirmed that the money is available but he still makes it secret. If I make it public, all ministers will immediately propose extra budget, while I really want to focus on the budget I have aimed at. For example, Tanjung Priok harbor will be able to accommodate 15 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) per year from 2017 on, he explained.
Must Be Started
On that occasion, President Jokowi also expressed his wishes to build Trans Papua railways. However, such a venture has never been studied, and thus, he demanded that in the next 6 months, such a study mustve been completed.
President Jokowi called attention to the fact that infrastructure development will cost more if delayed. He pointed some proofs. For example, the delay in Jakartas infrastructure development causes complication and considerable increases in costs. In addition to the enormous costs, the land acquisition is also complicated. Some people who dont want their land to be expropriated file suits against the Government, he stated.
IDR 1400 Trillion of Subsidies
Previously, in the beginning of his lecture, President Jokowi mentioned the public money we can save from the diversion of fuel oil subsidies. He mentioned that in the 2015 fiscal year, our budget amounts to IDR 2039 trillion. IDR 433 trillion of the budget is allocated for subsidies and IDR 280 trillion of it is allocated for fuel oil subsidies only. Subsequently, if the subsidies are not diverted, the total sum of fuel oil subsides in President Jokowis 5-year tenure will amount to IDR 1400 trillion.
Those fuel oil subsidies, President Jokowi continued, can be diverted to more productive sectors, such as building railways which costs IDR 360 trillion per year, compared with IDR 280 trillion allocated for fuel oil subsidies. We seldom realize such facts, while logistics management is very crucial for every country, he explained.
For that reason, President Jokowi wants to make changes. Fuel oil subsidies will be diverted to productive ventures, from mere consumption to productive uses. Therefore, immediately after my inauguration, I have announced the diversion of fuel oil subsides, not fuel oil price increases, he explained.
He asserted that the diversion of fuel oil subsides is different from fuel oil price increases. Therefore, the right term is the diversion of subsidies. If people stage demonstrations to protest fuel oil price increases, they are mistaken, Jokowi said.
The general lecture in front of Yogyakarta Gadjah Mada Universitys (UGMs) community of scholars was attended by Minister of Education and Culture Anies Baswedan, Minister of State Secretariat Pratikno, Cabinet Secretary Andi Widjajanto, Minister of Law and Human Rights Yasonna H Laoly, Yogyakarta Governor Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X, and UGM Rector Prof. Dwi Korita. (WID/Humas Setkab/ES)