Yudhoyono kicks off 7 bold master plan projects

Yudhoyono kicks off 7 bold master plan projects
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (center), accompanied by Vice President Boediono (left), Jakarta Governor and President-elect Joko Widodo (second left), hears an explanation from Coordinating Economic Minister Chairul Tanjung (right) about the progress of the New Priok development project at Jakarta Convention Center in Senayan, Central Jakarta, on Friday.

President Susilo Bambang Yu-dhoyono officially launched seven projects totaling Rp 13.1 trillion (SS$13.9 billion) under his administration's ambitious economic master plan on Friday.

The ambitious projects, which are part of the Master Plan for the Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesian Economic Development (MP3EI), were launched amid critics saying similar master plan projects were running at a snail's pace.

At the same time, Yudhoyono also handed over the continuation of the master plan to his successor, President-elect Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

The projects, kicked off through teleconference from the Jakarta Convention Center (JCC), are spread across economic corridors and range from infrastructure, such as seaports, to tourism economic zones.

In his remarks, Yudhoyono told Jokowi to continue the implementation of the master plan, which he believed would enable Indonesia to become one of the world's new economic powers.

"I entrust Joko Widodo, our next president, to carry on our achievements in the MP3EI as there are still 11 years left, and with all support, our target can be attained," Yudho-yono said during the ceremony.

Unveiled in 2011, the master plan aims to attract sizeable investment in a wide range of projects necessary to boost gross domestic product (GDP) in Southeast Asia's largest economy to more than $4.5 trillion and income per capita to above $15,000 by 2025.

As of August, the "groundbreaking" projects across five corridors throughout the sprawling archipelago already numbered 383, with investment hitting Rp 863.5 trillion, according to the report of the committee administering the plan (KP3EI).

The 383 groundbreaking projects comprise 174 projects in the real sector - including plants, smelters and other production facilities - and 209 infrastructure projects, such as airports, seaports, toll roads, railways and power generators.

Incumbent govt launches 7 projects worth Rp 13.1 trillion Yudhoyono wants Jokowi continue his master plan programs Jokowi may 'adjust' projects that don't fit Projects in the real sector and the infrastructure sector are valued at Rp 441.2 trillion and Rp 422.23 trillion, respectively.

Coordinating Economic Minister Chairul Tanjung echoed Yudhoyono, saying that although the execution of the master plan was "far from perfect", it should be continued by the next government for sustainability in the country's development.

"Don't reinvent the wheel. The MP3EI was designed as an open and iterative work document; its substance and development programs can be improved and enhanced by whoever is involved in the upcoming government," Chairul said.

The continuity of the master plan is under question following a statement from Jokowi's economic team that the new administration was mulling ending sizeable projects worth hundreds of trillions of rupiah under the MP3EI, a move considered helpful to widen the fiscal space in the state budget left by Yudhoyono.

In addition, projects under the master plan were considered compliant with Jokowi's priority to build maritime-based connectivity.

Separately, Jokowi said on Friday that he was still assessing the possibility of whether to continue the master plan projects or not.

"We can continue ones that are good and match [our goal] and adjust ones that still don't fit."

However, although he did not express his rejection of the master plan, Jokowi hinted at the possibility that his administration may have a different approach, pointing to agriculture as a way to attain food sovereignty, a priority already revealed during his election campaign.

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