Leading From the Front
    Category: Column By : Raj Kannan Read : 823 Date : Sunday, July 10, 2016 - 19:40:51

    I have been in Indonesia for over a dozen years and recently I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Istana, the home of President Joko Widodo. My colleagues and I were among the over 200 guests of government ministers, public servants, SOE executives, entrepreneurs and private sector investors witnessing the signing ceremony of six infrastructure projects officiated by the President himself.  

    Up first was the exchange of documents between the funders and the project company for the Central Java power plant (CJPP) project in Batang. This $4.2 billion project will generate two gigawatts of power by 2019 and is one of the first projects procured under the government’s Public Private Partnership (PPP) scheme. Though coal fired, the project will be using ultra super critical boiler technology, making it a very environmentally friendly power plant. The concession agreement signing for five toll road projects followed, between the toll road regulator BPJT, IIGF and the concession companies for new toll roads in Java, Kalimantan and Sumatra, including part of the Trans Sumatra Highway.

    The CJPP was been troubled by land zoning and land acquisition issues over four years; the President in his remarks recounted his personal involvement in solving the project’s land acquisition issues. He conducted many site visits and discussions with local landholders to convince them to release their land for a fair price to help economic growth. In his remarks, he also warned the five toll road concessionaires that he would monitor their projects to ensure on-schedule construction.  

    The President also drew applause when he mentioned that he cancelled over 3,000 PERDAs or local laws that were either anti-investment or contradicted national economic plans. This demonstration of leading from the front by the President was impressive and I am confident that the vigor of the President’s leadership will rub off on other government agencies and project proponents to ensure projects are implemented.

    The ceremony was co-hosted by government’s coordinating agency for priority and strategic projects, the KPPIP, and the government’s infrastructure guarantee fund, the IIGF.  The event was a milestone for both agencies.  For IIGF, the financial closure of the CJPP was a significant since this was the first PPP project guaranteed by them. For the KPPIP, reaching financial closure on the CJPP and the signing of concession agreements for the five toll roads is a major morale booster for this embryonic agency that coordinates delivery of priority and strategic projects.

    The KPPIP, established by Presidential decree, is paradigm of effective partnership between private sector expertise and public sector commitment. It ensures implementation of the government’s policies and priority programs in the most efficient way possible—and manifests the President’s ethos of leading from the front.