Jakarta (ANTARA) - Investment Minister Bahlil Lahadalia affirmed the government's commitment to involving local residents and business actors in its sugar and bioethanol self-sufficiency project in Merauke, South Papua Province.

The minister remarked that the proper involvement of locals in utilizing an area of two million hectares in the project would help the government boost the national economy and elevate the living standards of people.

"The absorption of local workers is a must. I will take action against companies in Merauke that are deviating (from empowering locals)," he emphasized.

Lahadalia then urged local entrepreneurs to work professionally while collaborating with investors since he believes that the sugar and bioethanol investment project constitutes a valuable project that will bring progress to Merauke.

"You must be prepared too. You should not push investors to collaborate with local entrepreneurs when you cannot work well," he told local business players.

He further noted that the Investment Ministry is planning on applying the plasma core partnership pattern to pursue effective cooperation in the project.

Under the partnership pattern, investors serve as the core and are responsible for assisting local residents, as the plasma farmers, in developing their plantations.

In this context, investors may provide local people with financial assistance, technology, and guidance. The harvest of the plantations will then be processed by investors.

Earlier, on April 19, President Joko Widodo signed Presidential Decree No. 15 of 2024 concerning the Task Force for the Acceleration of Sugar and Bioethanol Self-sufficiency that is stationed in Merauke, South Papua.

Article 1 of the decree stipulates that the task force is mandated to expedite and facilitate the process of integration of sugarcane plantations with sugar and bioethanol industries as well as biomass power plants.

Under the decree, the government will divide the designated area of two million hectares into four clusters.

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Translator: Ahmad M, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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