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Infrastructure crisis looms for Indonesia JAKARTA - Indonesia's dilapidated infrastructure poses a greater threat to human life than terrorism and will hamper long-term growth if investments are not made to improve it soon, the World Bank said yesterday. 'In terms of the impact on human lives, it's obviously dramatically worse than terrorism for Indonesia. There's no comparison,' World Bank country director Andrew Steer said on the sidelines of a conference on averting an infrastructure crisis.
He said only 1.7 per cent of the population had access to sewerage networks and only 16 per cent had piped water at home. 'As a result of this, obviously the burden of disease, especially among children, is much, much higher than it should be,' he said. Indonesia lags behind the region in almost all infrastructure sectors, he added. 'Unless some serious new investment and improved management take place in infrastructure, Indonesia's long-term growth will be threatened,' he said.
Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Dorodjatun Kuntjor-Jakti said the country's infrastructure development had virtually ground to a halt since the regional economic crisis struck in mid-1997 and it would take up to 15 years to catch up. 'If Indonesia is not successful in developing infrastructure, I'm afraid that the coveted economic growth of 6 per cent to 7 per cent is just a dream,' he said yesterday.
He cited the poor access to electric power in the areas outside Java, and said the country needed at least US$20 billion (S$34 billion) for that sector alone. He said the government planned to establish a provident fund to allow it to build millions of low-cost houses. 'It's so distressing when you see the number of houses built in the last five years in comparison to the demand.
'You cannot increase the nation's productivity unless you provide good housing to the people,' he said. He said the private sector must be involved in building infrastructure such as seaports, airports and railways because the state budget alone was not adequate. According to a recent World Bank report, Indonesia's infrastructure performance 'remains highly unsatisfactory'.
Many outer island regions suffer regular power outages and only about half of the population is connected to an electricity grid, it said. Roads in and around major cities are heavily congested throughout the day. And while the number of telephone connections has increased rapidly in the last few years, it remains very low at 9.1 fixed and mobile subscribers per 100 people. The report also said pervasive corruption, especially in the procurement area, affected infrastructure 'acutely' and had extremely high economic cost.



Posted in General @ 03 December 2003 00:02 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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