The government is expanding its definition of “welfare” in its approach to Papua, and welcomes the assistance of foreign donors in developing Indonesia’s eastern most provinces.
Meeting with chief editors for tea at his office here on Wednesday (11/01), the Vice President Boediono conceded that the government felt a need to change its approach toward the often-troubled region.
“The people must be given a sense of safety, a sense of justice, not just be given new buildings,” he said.
He expressed confidence in the work of the Presidential Unit for the Acceleration of Development in Papua and West Papua (UP4B), which was now beginning its field work.
“[We need] to win hearts and minds,” the Vice President remarked.
Coordinating Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa, who also attended the gathering, insisted that “we’ve adopted the right approach, one that will accelerate development”.
“This approach is key, and it is vital that we do not delay [implementation],” he added.
According to Hatta, the government has already allocated an “amazing” amount of the state budget for developments in Papua, citing an allocation of Rp 29 trillion.
Responding to possible fears of foreign intervention should donor funds be more accessible to Papua, Boediono urged the public “not to seek ghosts in broad daylight”.
“The most important thing is for us to filter, be selective. Let’s not close ourselves off [unnecessarily].”
He stressed that there were many donors — bilateral and multilateral — with good intentions.
Both he and Hatta warned against undue fears that countries like Australia and the United States had ulterior motives, referring to treaties and statements made by the two countries respecting Indonesia’s territorial integrity.
One improvement that Boediono feels should be made is in the country’s diplomacy when presenting the Papua case abroad. “Not only should Indonesia be more proactive, but the approach must be holistic.”
Speaking on the overall economic challenges ahead, Boediono believes 2012 will be a tougher year than the previous one, but the government has prepared contingencies to overcome the year’s challenges.
“Global conditions in 2012 may not be as friendly as 2011,” he told editors. Consequently, Boediono believed there could be an impact upon exports, the flow of capital and an overall slowdown in the economy.
There may be small shocks, he said, “but we are ready”.
Three task forces have been set up to deal with the potential challenges. One will oversee the macro-monetary situation under the aegis of the finance minister and the central bank, while another will oversee the real-estate sector, particularly to examine bottlenecks that may impede development.
While many of these relate to infrastructure issues, Boediono pointed out that “it may not necessarily be a case of budgets”. “Sometimes it is a question of coordination between the central government and regional administrations and when it involves the regions, things can take a long time,” he remarked.
Boediono added that other cases involved policies, which could also become gridlocked.
Source: the Jakarta Post