Indonesia’s Slow Infrastructure Growth Still an Impediment, Legislator Says
Markus Junianto Sihaloho
A senior legislator has called on the government to significantly increase its transportation infrastructure spending to address the business community’s long-running logistical and distribution woes.
Marwan Jafar, the head of the National Awakening Party (PKB) at the House of Representatives, said in a statement on Sunday that the pace of building new infrastructure across the country was lagging the pace at which new vehicles were being added to the already overloaded transportation system.
“There has to be an even ratio between the pace of infrastructure-building and the growth in the number of new vehicles and population growth,” he said.
“The government should not wait until the number of vehicles overwhelms the existing road space, or the number of people overwhelms the existing public transportation options, before taking action.”
Marwan, a member of House Commission V, which oversees transportation and public works affairs, said the government needed to invest in more roads, trains and boats, as well as improve existing roads, ports, airports and train stations.
A report by the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) and Bank Indonesia earlier this year estimated that poor transportation infrastructure was responsible for 30 percent of the final cost of goods transported throughout the country. In many cases, transportation costs outweighed production costs, the report found.
The problem of slow infrastructure growth is particularly acute in Jakarta, where the annual increase in new roads is just 0.01 percent, compared to a 30 percent rise in the number of new vehicles hitting the city’s streets each year.
Marwan said there needed to be a clearer and more comprehensive set of policies on public, private and freight transport.
“There has to be serious attention paid toward developing a set of rules that are comprehensive and not partial,” he said.
“There needs to be a scale of priorities, and if necessary, a complete revolution in our national transportation policies.”