President to prioritize electricity supply for eastern regions

Makassar, South Sulawesi (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo said here on Friday that he will make every effort to meet electricity demand in Indonesia, giving priority to the eastern regions.

"The target is to achieve 35,000 megawatts within the five-year term of my government. How could we have provided only 55,000 megawatts after 70 years of independence? It is clear that priority will be given to the eastern regions of Indonesia," he affirmed.

He added that in the next five years of his government with Vice President Jusuf Kalla, he has resolved to be able to provide up to 35,000 megawatts of electricity.

"We must meet the target of 35,000 megawatts. This year, it will be around 10,000 megawatts and next year, around 11,000 megawatts and so on until it is met," he remarked.

Although a huge budget will be needed to build the infrastructure, he is confident they can meet the target to support development in all sectors.

"One must remember that it is just commencing. Building infrastructure takes time, but it must be started. If the national budget is not enough, we will think about what state-owned companies can do. If funds from state-owned companies do not suffice, we will find ways to cooperate with private parties. If that does not suffice either, we may seek investors," Jokowi explained.

On various occasions, President Joko Widodo has reiterated the importance of the availability of electricity as being crucial to boost Indonesias economy. This is because without electricity, hotels will not improve, factories will not operate, and investments will be stagnant.

In view of that, he urged stakeholders to be directly involved in the efforts to meet the 35,000 megawatts target, including in land acquisition for the projects.

Moreover, President Joko Widodo estimated that some Rp1,200 trillion will be needed for the project. He added that he would divide it among the national budget of the central government, state-owned electricity company PT PLN, and the Independent Power Producer.

"It is impossible for PLN to do it by itself. I have emphasized on the importance of efficiency, and PLN subsidy must be reduced by up to Rp30 trillion a year," he said.(*)