Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo announced on Wednesday that he had ordered the infrastructure projects for the new capital city in East Kalimatan to proceed, and that he expected some basic facilities could be operational in 2024.
Speaking at a meeting with journalists at the State Palace, the President said that ongoing work on the new capital city would only use the budget of existing infrastructure projects to avoid diverting funds from programs essential to the country's COVID-19 response.
"I already gave the order that the state-owned enterprises involved in the [infrastructure] projects should work with the private sector," Jokowi said.
The President expected the new capital to be up and running in 15 to 20 years. "Had it not been for the pandemic, it would have been quicker," he added.
In an earlier meeting with lawmakers, National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) head Suharso Monoarfa said the agency projected that 15 to 20 years would be needed to relocate the nation's capital.
The project is estimated to cost Rp 466 trillion (US$32.7 billion) of which only 19 percent is to come from the state budget, with the remainder to come from the private sector and foreign investors.
The new capital city is to occupy 256,000 hectares in the East Kalimantan regencies of North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kartanegara, and is thought to take some of the pressure off Jakarta, which currently serves as the country's administrative center and business hub.
Jokowi insisted at Wednesday's briefing that relocating the nation's capital to Kalimantan would create a new work culture in the bureaucracy.
"We will not only move there physically, but I expect we will have new values and new work ethics," he said.
"We can work more efficiently," said the President, adding that government employees would also benefit from the fresh air and green environment surrounding the new capital.