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President Jokowi prioritizes 4 cities as new growth drivers

Jakarta Globe - December 5, 2023

Jakarta – The Ministry of Public Works and People's Housing (PUPR) revealed that four new cities prioritized by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo could serve as the main driver of Indonesia's economic growth. Three of these cities are located outside of Java, as the burden on the island has become too heavy and is no longer feasible to be the engine of growth.

Endra S Atmawidjaja, an expert staff for technology, industry, and environment at the ministry, has identified four new drivers, namely Tanjung Selor in North Kalimantan, Sofifi in North Maluku, Sorong in West Papua, and Maja in Banten. Notably, Maja is situated a mere 76 km outside Jakarta on Java Island.

Previously, Jokowi had designated the development of these four new cities as priority projects based on Presidential Regulation 52/2023 on the Government Work Plan for 2024, which is also included in the National Medium-Term Development Plan (RPJMN) 2019-2024.

"I think the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) should direct investments there. These new cities are crucial because Java no longer has room for growth. It needs to be moved outside Java," Endra said during an interview at the Gelora Bung Karno complex, Senayan, Jakarta, on Monday.

As of the second quarter of 2023, the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) reports that Java Island contributes to 57.3 percent of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP). Following Java, Sumatera holds 21.9 percent, Kalimantan 8.3 percent, Bali-Nusa Tenggara 2.8 percent, and Maluku and Papua collectively contribute 2.6 percent.

Despite being designated as priority projects, the development of these new cities has faced delays. Endra admitted that the project has encountered setbacks but emphasized the need for the government to continue with the project. "It has been delayed a bit, but I think we need to continue with it," he said adding that some of them can be built after 2024.

Endra disclosed the fate and challenges faced by the development of the four new cities. Firstly, Maja. According to the RPJMN, Maja is designed to become a new growth center and a satellite city for Jakarta.

"We want to develop Maja as a new public city. It means it can be more affordable, and accessible by mass transportation. There is already a train there," he explained.

Secondly, Sofifi. Endra said that the development of Sofifi as a new city must continue. However, the area faces challenges, namely the reluctance of the local community to move from Ternate to Sofifi. The residents perceive that the infrastructure and resources in Ternate are more complete and easily accessible than those in Sofifi, despite the short distance between the two.

"Even though the distance from Ternate to Sofifi is near, it turns out it's not easy to relocate residents, there must be special intervention so that Sofifi can develop further. So, a new city needs special treatment from the government," said Endra.

Sofifi is the capital city of the North Maluku province in Indonesia. This coastal city is located on Halmahera Island in the eastern part of Indonesia.

Thirdly, Tanjung Selor. Endra said that the capital city of North Kalimantan also has the potential to become a new growth center for Indonesia. The government will focus more on developing local infrastructure and economic activities.

"There needs to be an economic base, as we can see in Pekanbaru (in Kalimantan), it can grow because there is Pertamina, and there is an oil block. Balikpapan can grow because there is an economic base," he said.

Most of Indonesia's coal reserve is located on Kalimantan Island, but Tanjung Selor does not have any reserve.

Fourthly, Sorong. Endra emphasized a similar sentiment for the development of Sorong. "I think Sorong is the same. Every place has its advantages and uniqueness," he concluded.

Sorong is located near the Raja Ampat Islands, known for its stunning marine biodiversity and coral reefs. In recent years, Sorong has witnessed infrastructure development to support its growing economic activities.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/business/president-jokowi-prioritizes-4-cities-as-new-growth-driver