"The president has agreed to commence the development of the Mandalika SEZ in August this year, and to inject Rp1.8 trillion of funds for the construction of its basic infrastructure," he said at Salak Hotel here on Tuesday.
Yahya added that on Monday, the president had received State-Owned Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno, the head of the Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), which will manage the Mandalika SEZ, and him to discuss the program.
During the meeting with President Jokowi, the head of state had agreed to follow up on the Mandalika SEZ development project, the tourism minister affirmed.
While visiting Mandalika resort last Friday, Jokowi has stated that land clearance for the SEZ had started in 1987, but the previous government had not followed up on the project.
Therefore, he expressed hope that the ITDC would use the funds to commence building the basic infrastructure to attract investors.
He further noted that the construction of the basic and supporting infrastructure of the Mandalika SEZ required a total investment of as much as Rp36 trillion.
However, Jokowi pointed out that the government had not hesitated to carry out the big project in the southern part of West Nusa Tenggara because it was the most suitable region for tourism to prevent overcrowding by tourists in Bali.
He affirmed that the development of the Mandalika region had the potential to absorb 8,000 workers because effects of developing the tourism sector often spilled over to other sectors.
"For the project, the government will inject Rp250 billion of funds this year and Rp1.8 trillion next year, and in August, the groundbreaking ceremony for hotels will be held," the president noted.