Jakarta – The process of relocating Indonesia's capital city to East Kalimantan is to go on as planned despite the COVID-19 pandemic in the archipelago, the Office of the Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister has said.
Jodi Mahardi, a special staff member with the office, said the preparations to move the country's capital from Jakarta were still on track so far.
"The office, alongside the State-Owned Enterprises Ministry and the Finance Ministry, has continued to engage in intense communications with potential investors and partners," Jodi said in a virtual press briefing as quoted by Antara on Wednesday.
Jodi added that the ministry was still reviewing a number of options for the development of the new capital, which is to occupy a 256,000-hectare area in East Kalimantan's North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kartanegara regencies.
Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said last month there were about 30 potential investors, both local and foreign, lining up to help develop the new capital.
"Many foreign investors of various fields from the United States, Japan, the United Arab Emirates and Singapore want to assist in the construction," Luhut said.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's administration plans to relocate the country's administrative hub by 2024.
This year, the government would focus on preparing a master plan, technical details and land procurement for the new capital.
The National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) previously said that what the agency's capital relocation secretary, Hayu Prasasti, calls a "soft groundbreaking" might take place in July this year and mark the start of building road access to the site of the new city.
The plan, however, comes as the central government struggles to contain the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in the archipelago, particularly as cases of infections continue to increase in many of the country's provinces.
As of Wednesday, the number of people infected by the coronavirus in the country has reached 790, with 58 fatal cases.
Earlier in February, Bappenas head Suharso Monoarfa explained the timeline for relocating the capital, saying the groundbreaking would commence in 2021, followed by the construction of residential buildings and health facilities in 2022 and telecommunication networks and ports and airports in 2023. The state apparatuses are scheduled to move to the new capital in 2023. (aly)