From: Antara NewsTernate, N Maluku (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has thrown his weight behind the North Maluku provincial government`s wish to turn Morotai Island into a special economic zone.
Addressing a ceremony marking the relocation of North Maluku`s provincial capital from Ternate to Sofifi, the president asked the relevant parties to draw up a master plan for the development of the island into a new economic center.
The head of state said he would visit the island to see for himself its potentials.
As an outlying island serving as a gateway into Indonesia through the Pacific Ocean, being close to East Asia, and situated in the main sea lane to Australia and New Zealand, Morotai could be part of economic movement in the Asia Pacific region, he said.
"We should think strategically. Let`s do something in North Maluku, Morotai in particular so it will be part of economic movement in the Asia Pacific region," he said.
The President said he had received a master plan from Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Fadel Muhammad to develop the island into a fishery, tourist, trade and service center.
"Go ahead. Make a mature plan before embarking on the development project there," he said.
Yudhoyono said the development of new economic centers in the eastern part of Indonesia was one of the ways to boost economic growth in the region.
The other policy to promote the eastern part of Indonesia was prioritizing the
development of key sectors in each of the eastern Indonesian provinces, he said.
The president also vowed to encourage the development of infrastructure facilities in the air, water and sea sectors in the region to increase its connectivity and facilitate logistics supplies to the region which still had many backward villages. (*)