Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Joko Widodo (Jokowi) - M. Jusuf Kalla administration has intensified infrastructure development across Indonesia during their first four-year term, starting October 2014, as the projects are expected to strengthen connectivity, economic growth, and national unity.

Seeking a second term in office, incumbent Jokowi pledged that the government will next focus on making massive investment in human capital development to produce high-quality and competent human resources.

The human resources development program, however, will be in synergy with other programs, including with physical infrastructure projects and technology innovation program.

Hence, the government continues to allocate funds amounting to Rp400 trillion in the State Budget for the development of infrastructure in 2019, despite shifting its focus to the development of human resources.

Funds for the 2019 State Budget will reach a total of Rp2,461 trillion for expenses, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani stated recently.

Allocation for infrastructure will reach Rp400 trillion; health sector, Rp120 trillion; and education, Rp500 trillion, she outlined.

During the 2015-2018 period, the government had developed new roads, stretching a total of 3,432 kilometers (km), in Kalimantan and Papua border areas as well as East Nusa Tenggara, among others. The new roads exceed the target of 2,650 km by 2019.

The government has also built new bridges, spanning 39,798 meters, exceeding the target of 29,859 meters by 2019.

Among several major government-sponsored infrastructure projects are the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project in Jakarta and Light Rail Transit (LRT) projects in Palembang, the capital of South Sumatra, and Jakarta; the Trans-Sumatra toll road in Sumatra, the Manado-Bitung toll road in North Sulawesi, and Trans Papua project; the Kuala Tanjung International Hub Port in North Sumatra and the Bitung International Hub Port in North Sulawesi; Kertajati Airport in West Java; and Karangkates IV & V hydroelectric power plants in East Java and the 500-kilovolt electricity transmission grid in Sumatra.

Better infrastructure has helped connectivity in the country having over 17 thousand islands, and brought the people closer, thereby strengthening the national unity. Indonesia has some 1,340 indigenous tribes and at least 300 ethnic groups.

"Many of us have got this wrong that when we build they see just the physical forms - toll-roads, airport, MRT (Mass Rapid Transit), and LRT (Light Rail Transit). What we really do is to build civilization and cultural connectivity. Building infrastructure projects must be seen as our efforts to unite ourselves," President Jokowi had noted on August 16, 2018, in his annual address to the Parliament on the eve of Indonesia`s 73rd Independence Day.

"As a plural country, we want to grow and prosper together," Jokowi noted.

"One thing we may not forget is that building infrastructure projects is building the nation`s mentality and character," he affirmed.

Infrastructure projects have not only been focused on the most populous island of Java but also spread out from Sumatra to Papua, as the government aims to ensure that everyone across Indonesia benefits, according to Jokowi, who has had a busy agenda, with inauguration ceremonies of infrastructure projects until next year.

On April 17, 2019, Indonesia will hold simultaneous legislative and presidential elections.

Acceleration of infrastructure development will create new economic centers that will in turn offer added value to Indonesia`s regions.

Furthermore, infrastructure development is in line with the public`s aspirations of better and good-quality infrastructure services, according to Public Works and Public Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono.

"In the past, infrastructure was developed to meet the basic needs, but now, it aims to improve our competitiveness," he noted.

The millennial generation should be cognizant of the importance of the infrastructure sector in unifying and boosting economic activities in Indonesia.

Moreover, infrastructure development, which has been a priority program during the Jokowi-Kalla administration, will become an asset for the millennial generation to be more competitive, the minister noted.

Infrastructure development also builds a foundation for a giant leap into the future to be initiated by the Indonesian younger generation.

The millennial generation will become a decision maker for the future of Golden Indonesia 2045.

Meanwhile, Chairman of Indonesian Entrepreneurs Association (APINDO) Hariyadi B. Sukamdani said that strengthening connectivity between regions, from the westernmost to easternmost parts of Indonesia, has become a challenge for businesspersons.

"Strengthening connectivity is deemed necessary to stimulate the growth of the economy in every region," Sukamdani remarked during a seminar on The Future Digital Transformation, Government & Private Partnership on December 10, 2018.

A similar view was also voiced by Chairperson of APINDO for Transportation Affairs Carmelita Hartoto.

"Indonesia is an archipelagic country. Strengthening Indonesia`s connectivity requires an integrated network of all modes of transportation, covering land, sea, air, and rail," she stated.

Editing by Yoseph Hariyadi

Reporter: Fardah Assegaf
Editor: Yosep Hariyadi
Copyright © ANTARA 2018