Jakarta (ANTARA News) - After conducting intensive infrastructure development in the country over the past four years, several projects have been completed and will be inaugurated in 2019.

Since the start of President Joko Widodo`s (Jokowi`s) administration in October 2014, the government has been focusing on the development of the country`s infrastructure in an effort to develop connectivity and open access to isolated areas for the smooth implementation of the nation`s economic activities.

The government`s next intensive program will prioritize the development of human resources after focusing on infrastructure. President Jokowi aims to inaugurate several completed infrastructure projects in the remaining year of his five-year term in 2019.

President Jokowi revealed that currently, the work on several infrastructure projects has been completed and awaiting inauguration.

"Many have lined up but because it is difficult to manage time, there are many that we cannot inaugurate yet," President Jokowi remarked while launching the 2018 National Infrastructure One-Map Policy and Geoportal Progress Book at the Bidakara Hotel, Jakarta, on Tuesday (Dec 11).

Jokowi said the infrastructure projects included dams, seaports, toll roads, and airports.

According to Minister of Public Works and Public Housing (PUPR) Basuki Hadimuljono, during the 2015-2018 period, a total of 3,432 kilometers (km) of new roads had been built, such as in the borders of Kalimantan, Papua, and East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) that exceeded the target of 2,650 km until 2019. A bridge, with a total length of 39,798 meters, exceeded the target of 29,859 meters that had originally been planned for completion in 2019.

Minister Hadimuljono noted on several occasions that millennials need to comprehend the importance of the infrastructure sector in uniting and boosting economic activities in Indonesia.

"Millennials need to know that infrastructure also unites Indonesia, especially in terms of connectivity," Hadimuljono pointed out.

The minister stated that building infrastructure is essentially managing the high expectations of society to have more complete and quality infrastructure services.

"In the past, infrastructure was built to meet basic needs, but now, infrastructure is built to boost our competitiveness," Hadimuljono stated.

Head of the Regional Infrastructure Development Agency PUPR Hadi Sucahyono had earlier remarked that prioritizing infrastructure development was a logical choice for the government.

He reminded that currently, one indicator of Indonesia`s competitiveness in the global context continuing to improve is its 45th ranking out of 140 countries, jumping from 47th position in the earlier year.

In the meantime, Indonesian House Speaker Bambang Soesatyo praised the focus given by the Government of Jokowi to promote a policy of infrastructure development that is evenly distributed in various regions in the country.

"Infrastructure is the key to equitable development and improving people`s welfare," Soesatyo stated in Jakarta this week, Tuesday.

The speaker of the House explained that the infrastructure built based on President Jokowi`s directives was quite diverse, including that in the field of information technology and energy.

In addition, he remarked that infrastructure development was also viewed as being successful in opening employment opportunities and reducing the rate of unemployment in various regions.

Soesatyo lauded that infrastructure development was also expanded and carried out in Eastern Indonesia.

Projects expected to be inaugurated at the end of this year or next year included large ports, such as Kuala Tanjung in North Sumatra, that will be inaugurated at the end of this month or the start of next month, as well as the Makassar New Port. This is also a big port that we will complete in early 2019.

"We witness the development of infrastructure, such as roads, toll roads, airports, ports, and dams, which we have seen one-by-one, many of which have been completed," President Jokowi pointed out.

The former governor of DKI Jakarta also shed light on the construction of the Jakarta-Surabaya Toll Road that will be connected at the end of 2018.

"Soon to be connected, there are only four unfinished segments, including Batang-Semarang, Salatiga-Solo, and Wilangan-Kertosono," he revealed.

He said after Merak-Surabaya was connected, it was expected that by the end of 2019, Merak-Surabaya would be connected to Banyuwangi. The toll road from Merak to Banyuwangi is the Trans-Java Toll stretching 1,150 km.

During a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday (Dec 14), President Jokowi inaugurated the start of the construction of the Banda Aceh-Sigli toll road, which is part of the Trans-Sumatra Toll Road project.

"This afternoon, we held a groundbreaking ceremony to inaugurate the start of construction of the toll road in Aceh," the president remarked.

It is part of the Trans-Sumatra Toll Road that will extend from Aceh, in the western tip of Sumatra, to Lampung in the eastern part of the island, Jokowi stated.

In the meantime, construction of the toll road section from Bakauheni port in Lampung Province to Palembang in South Sumatra, which is part of Trans-Sumatra, is now ongoing and is expected to be completed in April 2019. Part of the Bakauheni-Palembang toll road, stretching 148 km, is expected to be completed at the end of Dec 2018.

"I have reminded that the toll road from Bakauheni to Palembang should be completed in April 2019," Jokowi stated.

Editing by Suharto

Reporter: Andi Abdussalam
Editor: Heru Purwanto
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