Mon, 25 Oct 2010

From: Antara News

By Andi Abdussalam
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - If successful, the government`s plan to divide the country`s economic development into economic zones and clusters will create jobs for members of the local community for mutual welfare.

Called "Indonesia Economic Corridor 2011," the economic zone projects, which are now under discussion with the relevant ministries, are expected to start in 2011 and to be finished in 2025.

The government is drawing up six economic corridors whose aim is to improve the local people`s welfare. Each zone would be built in accordance with its potentials and aimed to create work balance with other zones.

The economic zone development will prioritize the opening of new work opportunities for the local people, not people coming from other regions.
Thus, the local people would enjoy the economic benefits.

"With the economic concept which we are discussing it is expected that the economy and welfare of people living around the zone would be improved. This is expected to eliminate stories about poor people in their own regions," Chief Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa said on Sunday.

The zoning will need a fund of US$60 billion and will jointly be supported by a number of parties such as private firms, public private partnership, foreign assistance, state-owned companies (BUMN) and state and regional budget (APBN/APBD), the coordinating minister for economic affairs said.

Basically, the Indonesia Economic Corridor 2011 is a mid-term economic development which would be done until 2025. In the scheme, all economic development intended to improve the economic welfare in all regions in Indonesia will be divided into six economic zones.

However, the minister did not yet mention the six economic corridors which would be launched by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in 2011 as at present his office was still discussing with the relevant agencies the steps to be taken for its realization.

The economic corridors are designed as six economic development highways, mostly located along coastlines which would connect centers of economic growth in five islands of Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Papua.

The minister said that each zone would be developed in accordance with its potentials and would be directed to create work balance among respective zones. The economic zone development would give priority to the opening of new work opportunities for the local people.

The minister cited Lampung province as an example. It would be transformed into a new economic corridor with the government support to develop the Sunda Strait Bridge (JSS), which would connect Java island with Sumatra.

"The JSS is a must project that should be done immediately owing to the fact that its function is strategic for the development of the economic zone concerned," Hatta said.

He said that because its function was to accelerate the economic development, the government would not delay its development. "In 2014 at the latest, the physical construction of the bridge should have been started," the minister added.

Lampung will serve as one of the new economic zone development which would cover the eastern coast of Sumatra as well other parts of West Java. For the zone, the government has prepared 14 large scale projects to generate the people`s economy, including the one to be developed in Lampung.

For the Indonesian eastern region, the minister cite as an example the zoning of Papua province which included Manokwari, Jayapura and Marauke which would be designed as a special economic zone for food and bio-based energy development.

"With the economic concept which we are discussing it is expected that the economic and welfare of people living in around the zone would be improved so that there would be no longer stories about poor people in their own regions," he said.

In the meantime, Japan has expressed interest in development of Indonesia`s special economic zones, particularly the first corridor, spreading along the east coast of Sumatra to western part of Java.

For this Japan is committed to invest in the projects with a fund of US$52.9 billion.

"Economic corridors will be built in six locations in Indonesia," Minister Rajasa told newsmen after returning from a working visit to Japan last week where he met with Japanese business leaders.

The minister said he discussed with Japan its plan to develop the six economic corridors during his visit to that country on October 14-16, 2010.

The Indonesian government has offered a concept on the project initially focusing on infrastructure. The project will follow the model of those already constructed on Java island, the minister said.

"I want something concrete here, namely building infrastructure in the six economic corridors, with Java as a model," he said.

Rajasa spoke specifically about the construction of mass rapid transit or mass transportation system for the greater Jakarta region that included its buffer towns of Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi.

"Starting from MRT the discussion broadens to building seaports, airports and other such big projects," Rajasa said, adding that the projects offered to Japan did not include infrastructure projects in the eastern parts of the country. (*)