The Jakarta Post
President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo has requested the acceleration of 10 priority infrastructure projects, including the Bontang refinery in East Kalimantan and the second stage of the Trans-Sumatra highway, according to a high-ranking official.
'The President has instructed us to accelerate the 10 priority projects that should break ground no later than this year, and which will be monitored by the Vice President,' National Development Planning Board (Bappenas) deputy chief for infrastructure Dedy S. Priatna said over the weekend.
Coordinating Economic Minister Sofyan Djalil has said that following the construction of the first stage of the Trans-Sumatra highway in December last year, the government plans to soon begin the construction of the second stage, which comprises four sections: Terbanggi Besar-Pematang Panggang, Pematang Panggang-Kayu Agung, Palembang-Tanjung Api-api and Kisaran-Tebing Tinggi.
'As for the SPAM [drinking water treatment system] project in western Semarang, we expect to begin the tender by the end of June this year,' Sofyan said.
The Transportation Ministry's airport director Agus Santoso said that the ministry would shortly begin the revitalization process of three non-commercial airports ' Labuan Bajo in West Nusa Tenggara, Radin Inten II in Lampung and Mutiara in Central Sulawesi ' that had been offered to potential investors over the past few years, but which had attracted no offers.
'These three airports are among the most profitable non-commercial airports in the country because of the large number of tourist arrivals, so we've decided to take them under the BLU [public service agency] to improve the service standard and generate more income for the state,' Agus told The Jakarta Post.
Dedy said that to speed up the process, the government was planning to issue a legal framework to ensure that ministries would not face legal problems in the future for attempting to accelerate infrastructure projects.
'Infrastructure project acceleration is sometimes hampered because many officials are cautious about direct appointments instead of tender processes. Therefore, Cabinet ministers have proposed that the President issue an instruction that allows them to directly appoint state-owned companies, for instance, to particular projects,' Dedy said.
'However, the President did say that appointments should be carefully supervised and conducted,' he added.
As of the end of April, over a period of three and a half months, the Public Works and Public Housing Ministry, which received the largest allocation in the revised state budget this year, had spent just 2.4 percent of its Rp 118 trillion (US$8.93 billion) budget for the year, down from 11.5 percent over the same period last year, data from the ministry show.
Minister Basuki Hadimuljono said that the ministry's budget realization would reach around 20 percent by the end of June, as the ministry was set to sign contracts this month with construction companies for a number of projects.
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