New capital construction postponed

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The new capital city, planned for East Kalimantan. (Photo: Detik.com)

IO – The Government has announced, through the Ministry of National Development Planning, that it is delaying the construction of a new national capital city in the Province of East Kalimantan; instead, all are currently focusing on mitigating the coronavirus pandemic. Minister of National Development Planning/Head of the National Development Planning Agency (Badan Perencanaan Pembangunan Nasional – “Bappenas”), Suharso Monoarfa, stated that new capital city construction will resume in 2021 in accordance with Bappenas’ work schedule. “We are putting the construction of the national capital city on hold, but we are still in touch with the Coordination and Formulation Team,” he said in a work meeting with the RI House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat – “DPR”) in Jakarta, Tuesday (08/09/2020). 

Even though the overall construction of the new capital city in East Kalimantan is being delayed, the Government continues to execute its Master Plan, by constructing basic infrastructure in the support towns around the new capital site, in areas such as Samarinda and Balikpapan. Construction in supporting towns started on 16 January 2020, from plans set in December 2019. 

The Ministry of National Development Planning/Bappenas suggests that the 2021 budget should be set at IDR 1.7 trillion, or increasing around IDR 240 billion from the initial budget of IDR 1.5 trillion. This is lower than the 2020 budget at IDR 1.8 trillion. Total funds required for constructing the new national capital are estimated at USD 33 billion, equal to IDR 446 trillion. The support budget allocation for the National Capital City Strategic Planning Communication and Coordination Team is included in the national development planning budget of around IDR 831.40 billion. 

The outline of the overall work program for the moving of capital city is as follows: In 2019-2021, the urban zoning design is to be made. In 2020-2023, technical planning is completed and public works and housing infrastructure are constructed. The bidding and construction for the Presidential Palace and Vice-Presidential Palace, the Parliamentary Complex, and the Ministry/State Agency Office are to be done in 2020-2024. A gradual move to the capital city will take years, from 2024 to 2045. 

Political observer Emrus Sihombing appreciates how the Government is delaying the construction of the new national capital city in East Kalimantan. Unfortunately, the Government, in this case the Head of Bappenas, did not completely explain the primary reason why the project is being suspended. “He should have reported how many of the construction funds are being diverted to mitigate COVID and why that amount necessitates suspension of the project until 2021, so that the people will understand. No matter what, some people are really interested in the construction of the capital city, such as the citizens in and around the supporting towns for the new capital,” he said. (dan)