Bad infrastructure blamed
for slow growth

Lack of sufficient infrastructure has been blamed for slow investment growth and development in the southern parts of West Java.

A number of businesspeople have acquired land in the region for tourism and industry purposes, but poor infrastructure facilities such as damaged roads and lack of an electricity network, remain growth obstacles.

"It's a pity because the province's southern region has big business potential in agribusinesses and tourism," Agung Suryamal Sutisno, chairman of the provincial chapter of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) said Thursday.

He expressed hope that both the central government and local provincial and regency administrations would be serious in developing the infrastructure to help accelerate investment in the region.

In a separate occasion, Governor Ahmad Heryawan conceded the minimum infrastructure facilities in the region accounted for the high disparity between the northern and southern regions in terms of development.

"So far we only have one national road in Pangandaran, but it is already old," he said.

In terms of infrastructure accessibility, West Java is lagging behind other parts of Java Island. East Java presently has about 300 kilometers of national road; Central Java has 100 kilometers in its southern region while West Java has only a quarter of Central Java.

In fact, according to Heryawan, the West Java's southern road stretches for 421 kilometers from Pangandaran in Ciamis regency to Pelabuhan Ratu in Sukabumi regency. Yet, only 25 kilometers of it has been upgraded into a national road.

The administration has, since 2008, been proposing the southern route project to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, which, Heryawan said, had begun to yield fruits.

The number of national roads in the province has begun to increase since December 2009. The bridges in the province's southern parts have been reconstructed to connect routes that previously were unfinished.

He also said his administration was developing the road connecting the province's central and southern regions. Among others include the 25-kilometer road to Sukabumi passing through Surade-Cidolog-Surade-Tegalbuleud that has not been renovated for 15 years. Other roads being repaired include the 24-kilometer route connecting Cianjur and Bandung regencies through Warungkondang - Cibeber - Sindangbarang and the access road from Pangalengan in Bandung regency to the Rancabuaya region in Garut regency.

The the road project, estimated for completion in four years, is expected to ease access for investors to the region.

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