Riza Roidila Mufti, Jakarta – The government has vowed to continue the development of national strategic projects during the COVID-19 health crisis with the addition of 89 new projects of an estimated Rp 1.422 quadrillion in investment value.
Coordinating Economic Affairs Minister Airlangga Hartarto said on May 29 that the new projects were an addition to the existing 223 national strategic projects., and were expected to employ around 4 million workers every year from 2020 to 2024.
"During the projects' development over the next five years, [the projects] are hoped to involve a total of 19 million [workers]," Airlangga told a virtual press briefing on Friday, following a Cabinet meeting.
Airlangga said that the 89 new projects comprised 15 road and bridge projects, 13 dams and irrigation systems, 13 border infrastructure projects and 12 energy projects.
The remaining projects comprised six railway projects, six clean water projects, five airports, five seaports, five industrial zones, three technology projects, three smelters, one seawall, one waste management project and one land procurement project in Central Kalimantan.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said at the briefing that although Indonesia was facing the COVID-19 pandemic, the development of national strategic projects must go on while adhering to the relevant health protocols.
The government's statement on the planned projects comes on the heels of its plans to ease the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in COVID-19 "red zones" across the country and to introduce the "new normal" protocols for daily activities, despite the increase in confirmed cases. Official estimates show that the economy is likely to contract 0.4 percent in the worst-case scenario for the year.
The President also ordered the acceleration of programs that could drive the "people's economy", such as the land certification, the transmigration land legalization and the social forestry programs.
Jokowi also instructed to "solve the problems in the field as soon as possible, because I still hear that land clearing is still a major problem" in developing the national strategic projects.
Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono said at Friday's briefing that the five "super priority" tourist destinations was among the strategic projects that had been earmarked for continued development.
The "super priority" tourist destinations are Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara, Borobudur in Central Java, Likupang in North Sulawesi, Lake Toba in North Sumatra and Mandalika in West Nusa Tenggara.
Basuki added that several toll road projects would break ground this year, including the 14-kilometer section 4 of the Banda Aceh-Sigli toll road, the 33 km sections I and V of the Balikpapan-Samarinda toll road, and the 131 km Pekanbaru-Dumai toll road.
Indonesia currently has 223 national strategic projects worth around Rp 4.2 quadrillion on its priority list, which has seen several revisions since 2016.
The country completed 92 infrastructure projects in 2016-2019, against the 144 projects that the Committee for Acceleration of Priority Infrastructure Delivery (KPPIP) has targeted for completion by 2020.