Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) emphasized that the Nusantara National Capital is the government's initiative to overcome economic gaps between regions in the country.

"We want to be Indonesia-centric, not Java-centric," he stated after a tree planting activity in the urban forest of the Pulogadung Industrial Zone here on Wednesday.

Jokowi said that some inequalities still existed in national economic development, with the data showing that 58 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the national economy comes from the island of Java.

"Some 58 percent of (our national economic development) is in the Java Island, among the 17 thousand islands that we have. Hence, we want to be Indonesia-centric," he remarked.

Jokowi conveyed this statement in response to one of the presidential candidates, Anies Baswedan, on his critics on the Nusantara development.

In an open dialogue in Surakarta, Central Java, on Wednesday (November 22), Baswedan stated that development of the Nusantara Capital City will create gap between its surrounding regions instead.

Jokowi said he accepted his opinion though reiterated that the construction of Nusantara has been regulated in Law No. 3 of 2022 concerning the National Capital.

"That is an opinion, you can express an opinion, but Nusantara already has a law," the president stated.

He is optimistic that Nusantara, located in the middle of the archipelago, would make a positive contribution to equitable distribution of national economic growth.

"(The capital city) located in other islands will also create economic growth. We hope that there will be new economic growth centers in islands other than Java," he remarked.

Apart from economic inequalities, Jokowi stated that the Indonesian population is still centered in Java.

"About 56 percent of the Indonesian population is in Java, so there must be equality in the other 17 thousand islands," he stated.

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Translator: Andi F, Kenzu
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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