"The 232 billion rupiah had been included in the budget of regencies and town of Riau Island province for poverty eradication and empowerment of the people living in outermost islands," Riau Islands Governor H.M. Sani said in Tanjung Balai Karimun on Sunday.
Sani said that the budget was for the implementation of various programs such as rehabilitation of damaged houses, seaweed cultivation, construction of educational and health facilities and infrastructure facilities for supporting the improvement of the rural economy.
"We hope that every regency and town will cooperate in supporting the concept that we will be launched this year. We hoped this concept will narrow the development gap between the towns and the outlying islands," he said.
The key in the concept of the programs, according to the governor, will be the provision of incentives for fishermen and the development of seaweed cultivation. Seaweed has been selected as a prioritized commodity as it originated from the waters of the province.
Former Marine Affairs and Fishery Minister Rokhmin Dahuri, an expert in marine resources development, was said to be included in the expert team to support the seaweed cultivation program.
Sani added that the concept for the empowerment of people living in outermost islands in the province was in line with the national program launched by the central government. Therefore he expected that the central government would soon approve the special fund allocation he had submitted to Jakarta.
In addition, Riau Island province will set up a border board which will handle the development programs and people empowerment in the border areas.(*)