Planning capital Nusantara: Indonesian crisis of confidence – taz.de

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Written By Maya Cantina

Indonesia is building a completely new capital: Nusantara. The non-transparent dismissal from the mega-project is now creating distrust among the population.

Indonesian President Joko

Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Wednesday at the construction site of his palace, where he plans to move into in July Photo: Vico/Indonesian Presidential Palace/ap

BERLIN taz | Such a shock: about ten weeks before the planned opening of the new Indonesian capital Nusantara, the highest authority Bambang Susantono and his deputy Dhony Rahajoe resigned on Monday, completely unexpectedly and without explanation. The two experienced technocrats were central to the realization of the ambitious billion-dollar project in Borneo.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, who left office in October and is building a monument for the city and plans to solemnly open it on the August 17 national holiday, appointed new heads of authorities on a temporary basis on Wednesday.

But he and his government have been largely silent about the reasons for the resignation. Widodo only spoke about ‘personal reasons’. But the fact that two managers resigned at the same time for private reasons shortly before the opening sounds very strange. Since then, there has been much speculation about the possible real reasons. A large number suspect that there are enormous problems with the prestigious project 1,350 kilometers northeast of the former capital Jakarta. Is everything becoming much more expensive now? Will Nusantara even become a ruin?

To reassure, Widodo said on Wednesday in Nusantara, where he was putting a water reservoir into use, that he wanted to move into his new office on the large construction site in July. He always justifies the move to the capital with the fact that Jakarta is sinking due to the pumping of groundwater and the infrastructure there is completely overloaded. The move of the first thousand civil servants to the new capital, planned for two million inhabitants, planned for August, had already been postponed from August to September.

President Widodo: 1st construction phase already 80 percent complete

So far, Widodo’s advice that the first construction phase is already 80 percent complete has not helped much. “We know the background [der Rücktritte] “Not, and that alone is cause for concern because it points to a lack of transparency, which could be very damaging to the investment climate surrounding the mega-project,” the spokesperson said. Jakarta Post.

To date, the construction of Nusantara, which is due to be fully completed in 2045 on the 100th anniversary of independence and be completely climate neutral, has suffered from criticism from environmentalists and indigenous land rights activists, from disputes over forms of ownership and, above all, from a lack of private investment from home and abroad.

Of the costs of the future “green and smart city”, which are estimated at 35 billion dollars in the first construction phase, only 20 percent will come from the state treasury, Widodo promises. But so far these investments have hardly been made.

“The simultaneous resignation of the head of the authority and his deputy indicates that the financing of the new capital is in serious trouble,” surmised Bhima Yudhistira, the director of the Center for Economic and Legal Studies (Celios) in Jakarta, according to the Online service of the magazine pace in an online discussion. “Because we cannot raise money and can only rely on the state budget at the moment, there is a lot of pressure.”

Apparently a major investor is ready

No matter how transparent the way Widodo deals with the layoffs, he is suddenly just as open in his dealings with potential investors. For example, he suddenly talked about the fact that the government had almost reached an agreement with the Emaar Properties group from the United Arab Emirates about investing in Nusantara. Emaar stands behind the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest building in the world.

“I don’t want to say it because I haven’t signed yet, but the investment is really big,” he said loudly without giving further details. But this strange approach to egg-laying, combined with a continued lack of transparency, is likely to worsen the crisis of confidence caused by the resignation.

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