"The Indonesian government has only Rp7 thousand trillion in debt, and it's the smallest in the world," the minister said here on Monday while attending the groundbreaking ceremony for Section 3 of the Cileles-Panimbang toll road.
The government's debt is only 40 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), while in developed countries, it is up to 100 percent of the GDP, he highlighted.
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"We ask gentlemen and friends in the regions to not listen to strange and unclear talks because the government knows exactly what it is doing," he added.
Besides, the Rp7 thousand trillion debt is a productive one, he said adding, for instance, it is being used for the construction of toll roads, and the government will be able to repay the debt.
The government is smart and not ignorant, hence people must not pay heed to misinformation, he said.
The government has made correct and careful calculations regarding debt, including the return on investment, Pandjaitan opined.
He further said that the construction of the 85-kilometer Serang-Panimbang toll road will certainly improve the economy of the people in Banten. It will also support the acceleration of the development of special economic zones (SEZs).
Currently, the construction of the 33-km section 3 of the Cileles-Panimbang road has been undertaken with the help of a loan from a Chinese bank, and the development is expected to be completed in 2024.
During Monday’s ceremony, the coordinating minister asked prominent local figure Mulyadi Jayabaya to assist in the land acquisition for the toll road project.
Currently, a small portion of land belonging to local villagers has not been acquired yet, he said.
"We ask residents to not believe strange information and to support the construction of the toll road to improve the economy of the people of Banten," he added.
The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by Public Works and Public Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono, Banten acting governor Al Muktabar, as well as Banten community leaders K.H. Embay Syarief and Jayabaya.