RI’s competitiveness on the decline: Govt
Hans David Tampubolon. The Jakarta Post, Jakarta - 27/04/2012
The 2012 National Development Planning Conference (Musrenbangnas) held in Jakarta on Thursday revealed that the government still had a lot of homework to do to achieve its economic goals.
National Development Planning Board (Bappenas) head Armida Alisjahbana said Indonesia’s infrastructure competitiveness level had dropped significantly compared to what it was when Indonesia was still under the autocratic rule of the New Order regime.
“In late 1990s, Indonesia’s infrastructure competitiveness was rated above China and Thailand. Now, Indonesia’s infrastructure competitiveness level is only above the Philippines and Vietnam,” Armida said.
“From 2009 to 2011, we have seen some improvements in road, railroad, flight, telephone and cellular communication infrastructure, but overall, they still have low competitiveness scores,” she said.
Armida’s presentation also revealed that Indonesia’s logistics capability was also threatened, due to the fact that more than 50 percent of the national irrigation system was in a state of disrepair.
According to Bappenas data, 37 percent of the irrigation systems in rural areas are non-functional with similar situations facing more developed areas, in which 15 percent of the irrigation systems are broken.
Armida said that to resolve those issues, the government had set four priorities for its development planning agenda for the year 2013.
“The theme for the 2013 development plan is to strengthen the domestic economy and to increase public welfare. These goals will be achieved using these factors: increasing competitiveness, improving resiliency, improving public welfare and maintaining social and political stability,” Armida said.
To increase competitiveness, the government must be able to improve the business climate, to accelerate infrastructure development for the sake of domestic connectivity, to establish various industries in numerous economic corridors, and to create more job opportunities, according to Armida.
Armida said that the government would prioritize developing connectivity infrastructure in the eastern part of Indonesia as transportation facilities in that region were still lacking.
Armida added the government also had to be able to achieve its 10 million ton rice surplus target and needed to successfully implement its energy conversion program for the sake of economic resilience amid the global economic crisis.
“We also need to improve our human resources by accelerating poverty eradication programming. This will enhance and improve public welfare,” she said.
“Preparations for the 2014 general elections and bureaucracy reform, along with corruption eradication and the acceleration of Minimum Essential Force development, must also be properly implemented for the sake of social and political stability,” she added.
“The implementation of the strategic initiatives above is not only in the hands of the central government’s ministries and institutions, but must also be implemented in proper coordination with regional governments,” she said further.
Armida was reaffirming a previous statement made by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on the importance of regional leaders in the country’s efforts to achieve its overall economic and development goals.
Yudhoyono, during his opening speech at the conference, warned regional government leaders to stop thinking about their own political agendas and instead start developing their local economies.
“This is the time for you [regional leaders] to work hard,” Yudhoyono said.