Jokowi could delay move to Nusantara; lack of water and electricity mark slow progress in

JAKARTA: President Joko Widodo looks set to delay plans to work from Indonesia’s new capital Nusantara amid a scramble to get its supply of drinking water and electricity up and running.

Mr Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, had earlier expressed confidence he would be able to work from his new office in East Kalimantan by early July.

His pledge to work from there was widely seen as a move to shore up confidence in the mega project following the resignation of Nusantara Capital Authority head Bambang Susantono and his deputy Dhony Rahajoe in June. 

The US$32 billion project has struggled to attract investors and experienced delays, with key infrastructure yet to be completed weeks before Indonesia’s Independence Day celebrations on Aug 17.

Those overseeing the project, including the public works and housing ministry, have informed the president that basic infrastructure is still not ready, Mr Widodo told the media in Jakarta on Monday (Jul 8).

“Is the water ready? Is the electricity ready? Is the place ready? If everything is ready, we will move,” said Mr Widodo, as quoted by news outlet

A presidential decree to formally declare Nusantara – also known as Ibukota Negara or IKN – the nation’s capital will depend on the project’s progress and could be issued by his successor Prabowo Subianto, Mr Widodo added.

Mr Subianto will be sworn in as president in October, with Mr Widodo’s son Gibran Rakabuming Raka serving as vice-president.

“The presidential decree could be before or after October. We see the situation on the ground. We don’t want to force something that is not yet (ready); don’t force it,” Mr Widodo said.

Jakarta provincial secretary Joko Agus Setyono, however, said on Tuesday that the presidential decree regarding the capital relocation could be expected within the next few days, or next week. 

Some basic infrastructure like supply of drinking water will be available in Nusantara by Jul 15, said Mr Basuki Hadimuljono, acting head of Nusantara Capital Authority and Minister of Public Works and Public Housing. Mr Basuki added that he would conduct checks there on Jul 19.

According to targets previously announced, Nusantara’s infrastructure to be completed this month include the presidential office, the presidential palace, four three-storey office complexes for the coordinating ministers, and a dedicated field where the Independence Day commemoration would take place. 

Housing for all 36 ministers, as well as 12 of the 47 residential towers for civil servants were also targeted for completion. About 12,000 civil servants from 38 ministries and institutions were expected to move to Nusantara by September, marking the first phase of the plan to populate the new capital. 

The final stage of Nusantara’s construction is slated to be completed by Indonesia’s centennial in 2045.

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