The Jakarta Post
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo defended his expansive infrastructure development on Thursday, which was often blamed for current economic problems, including the price increase of basic commodities.
The President said the government infrastructure program was often misunderstood as only physical development.
“Many misunderstand if they talk about infrastructure like toll roads, airports, the MRT and the LRT [light rapid transit]. They only see them from physical points of view,” Jokowi said in his speech before members of the People’s Consultative Assembly in Jakarta.
In the 2018 state budget, the government allocated Rp 410.7 trillion (US$28.1 billion) for infrastructure development, which is the largest ever in the country’s history. It also invites private companies to take part in infrastructure development.
Previously, Jokowi stressed that the 2019 state budget would give strong emphasis to human resources development, but he said the government would not reduce the budget allocation for infrastructure.
“In fact, we are developing civilization. We are developing cultural connectivity. We are developing new cultural infrastructure,” the President said in the annual event on the eve of the country’s Independence Day.
He said the development of physical infrastructure should be viewed from the effort to integrate the nation and accelerate cultural connectivity that could unite the nation and bridge local cultures all over the country.
“[With infrastructure], Aceh people can easily communicate with the people of Papua, and people on Rote Island [in East Nusa Tenggara] can communicate with those in Miangas [North Sulawesi],” the President added. (bbn)