Jokowi to prioritize basic infrastructure

Jokowi to prioritize basic infrastructure
Jokowi was declared the winner of Indonesia's presidential election on July 22, 2014, bringing the promise of major reforms to the world's third largest democracy.

Adopting similar strategies to his time as governor of Jakarta, president-elect Joko "Jokowi" Widodo revealed that he would focus the first months of his administration on basic infrastructure, starting with the acceleration of the permit process that dogs construction projects.

Jokowi has often said that his administration will not put a "100-day programme" in place following his inauguration, alongside vice president-elect Jusuf Kalla, in October. Instead he vowed to work hard on improving basic infrastructure, which would in turn open access for basic social services such as education and health.

"We won't do a programme 'thing'. But, we will get to work as soon as we are inaugurated, particularly on basic needs such as education and health. We will work on accelerating certain processes to improve infrastructure, regarding land acquisition permits for instance," Jokowi said.

"Basically, the new administration will immediately focus on whatever can be quickly resolved," he emphasised.

In addition to improving basic infrastructure, the active Jakarta governor also highlighted a commitment to the eradication of corruption and drugs from day one.

With a steadily growing population, Indonesia, the fourth most populous country in the world with an estimated population of more than 253 million in 2014, is witnessing a widening gap between rich and poor.

The United Development Program (UNDP) in its latest report says that Indonesia must improve access to quality social services, including education and health, and to jobs as it recorded a sizable increase in its inequality gap from 0.31 to 0.41, with 1 being completely unequal on a scale from 0 to 1.

During their campaign for the July 9 presidential election, Jokowi and Kalla also revealed an aggressive approach to the economy, including widening access for quality social services through the improvement of basic infrastructure.

The programs, compiled in the "Nawacita", which is Sanskrit for nine programs, also includes the target of 2,000 kilometers of roads to be constructed nationwide, 10 new airports, 10 ports and 10 industrial estates.

Along with such improvements in infrastructure, the programs also proposed to raise the quality of education and training through its "Indonesia Pintar" (Smart Indonesia) programme with a free, compulsory 12-year education.

The plan to reorganise the education system will prioritize the inclusion of civic education, history, character building and patriotism.

Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) lawmaker Eva Kusuma Sundari, a member of the Jokowi-Kalla volunteer team coordinators, told The Jakarta Post on Thursday that her team had recently received 54 promises Jokowi proclaimed during his campaign, comprising various issues from the economy to human rights, which were recorded by volunteers from across the archipelago.

"They made the list to monitor Jokowi's administration to ensure it stays on track," Eva said.

Eva, who is also a lawmaker from the House of Representatives Commission III overseeing law and human rights, added that the list included hopes for better infrastructure, particularly in the easternmost province of Papua.

"It's good to involve volunteers to monitor the administration," she emphasised, adding that Jokowi and Kalla would later establish two think tanks to focus on the assessment of the country's problems and possible solutions.

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