Indonesia: Criticism over government plans to hire foreign supervisors for new capital Nusantara
The Indonesian government’s intention to hire foreign supervisors to oversee the construction of the new planned capital Nusantara in order to ensure quick work and good quality has sparked criticism.
Earlier this month, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investments Luhut Pandjaitan suggested foreign workers needed to be recruited to ensure the new capital would be ready in time by August 17, 2024.
President Joko Widodo had set Independence Day next year as the target date to launch Nusantara as Indonesia’s new capital. We need to use foreign supervisors so the construction of the capital is of good quality, Pandjaitan stressed.
His comments soon drew criticism, with people arguing the expertise of locals should not be undermined. Moreover, analysts have raised concerns over the high unemployment rate and ballooning construction costs, especially when the development still relies on the state budget.
Stop Discrediting Professionalism Of Indonesians
Following Pandjaitan’s comments, Nusyirwan Soejono from the ruling party Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) said the expertise of the locals should not be discredited. Indonesians too can build and supervise the construction of major infrastructures, he added.
The politician, who is head of PDI-P’s industry, employment and social security unit, also raised concerns with the security aspects concerning important buildings, such as the presidential palace – saying they are best left for the locals to handle.
Pandjaitan defended his position on June 12 and said the quality of Indonesian workers is good, but they should be able to learn from “capable experts”. He asked the citizens to not be ashamed or feel inferior, “but if we are not capable, then learn.”
Final Stage of Construction Should Be Done By 2045
Nusantara’s construction is expected to be completed in multiple stages. The first phase is slated to finish next year. It includes the construction of a few ministries, the palace and certain basic infrastructures such as housing and roads.
The final stage is expected to be done in time by 2045, when Indonesia would be celebrating its centennial. The new capital could also get connected to surrounding cities such as Samarinda and Balikpapan by that time.
The government should consider their expenditure on recruiting foreign supervisors especially when the construction of the new capital uses the state budget, said Mohammad Faisal, executive director of the Center of Reform on Economics (CORE) Indonesia.
Construction of the first phase is about 30% complete, Minister of Public Works and Public Housing Basuki Hadimuljono said last month. The entire development cost could be around $35 billion. And so far, the budget for Nusantara is still coming from state coffers.