Indonesia puts USD33bn move of capital on hold to tackle pandemic

  • Indonesia has put on the backburner President Joko Widodo’s ambitious USD33bn project to relocate the capital city to the island of Borneo as it grapples to rein in the coronavirus pandemic, the planning minister said.
  • Planned construction of government buildings for the new city will be shelved until Indonesia sees “the light at the end of the tunnel” on the outbreak, said Suharso Monoarfa, who is overseeing a masterplan for the new city.
  • “We’re putting as our number one priority the recovery of the economy and overcoming the pandemic,” Monoarfa told Reuters in a streamed interview on 18 Aug 20.
  • Making a frank admission of the obstacles to the project, he said groundbreaking could be delayed until 2022 or 2023, as the government focuses efforts on finding, and then distributing, a COVID-19 vaccine to the population of nearly 270 million.
  • Construction of a state palace and other buildings was initially set to start by 2021, along with upgrades of airports, sea ports and the building of access roads in the forested area earmarked for transformation into a new smart city.

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