"The presence of this toll road will make the logistics costs from Bitung International Seaport get reduced so that it will be more efficient," President Widodo said while inaugurating the Manado-Danowudu toll road section on Tuesday.
The inauguration of the 26.35-km-long Manado-Danowudu toll road section, which is part of the 40-km-long Manado-Bitung toll road, was held via video conferencing from the Presidential Palace in Bogor, West Java Province.
President Jokowi said the toll road would improve North Sulawesi Province's industrial competitiveness because it would allow the province to expedite the development of the economic hub in the Bitung Special Economic Zone.
He emphasized this point as an opportunity for the North Sulawesi provincial government to attract more investors to the Bitung SEZ.
The Manado-Bitung toll road would also increase connectivity; open road access to the strategic tourism zone of Manado-Bitung-Likupang and to Lembeh Island; and, help new business activities thrive so that more job opportunities can be created, he said.
North Sulawesi's economy has huge potential for development, he added. It has a fishery industry in Bitung and other sectors as agriculture, plantation, and tourism which can be further developed, the President noted.
Since the first and second terms of President Jokowi, infrastructure has been accorded special priority, with the extension of toll roads bearing testament to this push.
According to the Public Works and Housing Ministry, at least 941 kilometers of toll roads and 3,423 kilometers of national roads have been constructed during President Jokowi's first term.
Work on the Trans-Java Highway connecting the ferry port in Merak, Banten province, to Surabaya, the capital city of East Java province, has been completed, thereby bringing down the travel time and logistics costs.
As part of the central government's prioritized development projects, the toll roads are not merely being constructed in Java, but also being built outside the island, such as in Sumatra, Kalimantan, and Sulawesi.
In Sumatra Island, several sections of the Trans-Sumatra Toll Road have been completed, while the government is planning to complete the entire section in 2024.
On September 25, 2020, President Jokowi inaugurated the 131-kilometer Pekanbaru-Dumai toll road, the first highway in Riau province.
Work on the Trans-Sumatra Toll Road Construction project is still underway. State-owned construction companies involved in the project have been working ceaselessly to ensure it is completed within the deadline. (INE)
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EDITED BY INE