The Jakarta Post
Bank Indonesia (BI) in cooperation with the Indonesian Navy is distributing cash to the country’s 116 outermost islands to help prevent the use of foreign currencies in border areas.
“Don’t let them use foreign currencies because the rupiah is unavailable there,” BI’s currency management department director Luctor E. Tapiheru said on the sidelines of the launch of BI’s mobile cash expedition to six outermost, frontier and least developed ( 3T ) islands at Batu Ampar Seaport, Batam, Riau Islands, on Wednesday.
The cash is being distributed to the islands of Rupat, Rangsang, Bengkalis and Panipahan in Riau; and Tebing Tinggi and Belawan in North Sumatra.
The program will run until Tuesday next week, with the cash transported on the Indonesian Navy’s KRI Lepu 861 vessel with 15 central bank employees onboard.
“BI is tasked with replacing outdated banknotes on the islands with the new ones and decreasing the circulation of foreign currencies,” Luctor said.
BI has scheduled 15 distribution trips this year to 116 3T islands across Indonesia to dispense between Rp 4.5 billion (US$ 316,611) and Rp 5 billion to several islands each trip. However, cooperation with other parties was needed to reach the district and subdistrict levels, Luctor said.
There are currently 43 BI representative offices across the archipelago, mostly located in the provincial capitals.
“The Navy's vessels are capable of reaching remote areas,” he said.
The BI and the Navy had been cooperating for the last eight years, the Navy chief of staff deputy operation assistant Cdre. Yusuf said.
“This is part of maintaining Indonesia’s sovereignty. Sipadan and Ligitan were lost because the currency used on the islands was Malaysian,” said Yusuf, adding that the Navy had prepared 15 vessels for the task.