"This is because we want our brothers and sisters there to also reap (the benefits of infrastructure development), such as roads, that we have enjoyed in Java, Sumatra, and Kalimantan," Jokowi remarked at a working meeting on National Health in South Tangerang on Tuesday.
The government has developed a 140-kilometer (km)-long Merauke-Bovendigul road, among other things, he noted.
Infrastructure construction can also reduce the prices of basic food items and fuel, he added.
The president is keen to ensure there is no disparity in the price of fuel in Wamena and Java. Before Jokowi had instructed to set a single price for fuel four years ago, the price of gasoline in Wamena could reach Rp80 thousand to Rp100 thousand per liter.
Infrastructure development is a precondition foundation for Indonesia to compete with other countries, he emphasized.
The Jagorawi toll road, connecting Bogor and Jakarta, was built by Indonesia in 1978. The first toll road had become a model for several neighboring countries, such as Malaysia and Thailand and also China, he stated.
However, Indonesia later began lagging behind in infrastructure development. Within four decades, Indonesia had only managed to build 780 km of toll roads; Malaysia, 1,800 km; and China, 280 thousand km.
In addition to toll roads, the construction of seaports and airports is crucial for economic growth in Indonesia, he emphasized.
The administration of Jokowi and M. Jusuf Kalla 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.
During the 2015-2018 period, the government had developed new roads, stretching a total of 3,432 km, in the 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.
Reporting by Bayu Prasetyo, fardah