Manado: Three newly-inaugurated special economic zones (KEKs), operational in the eastern region of Indonesia, are aimed at realizing equitable development, according to President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.
"This is for ensuring equitable development in the eastern region - in North Maluku and North Sulawesi," Jokowi remarked while inaugurating the Bitung KEK, Maloy KEK, Morotai KEK, a UKI Manado Flat, and an IAIN Manado Flat at the Sam Ratulangi Airport here on Monday.
The KEKs are also targeted to bring in investments into the country, he remarked.
"One can already find queues at the Bitung KEK and Morotai KEK," Jokowi noted at the event in which Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Darmin Nasution, Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung, and North Sulawesi Governor Olly Dondkambey also attended.
The head of state affirmed that the expansion of Morotai airport's runway aimed at supporting investment.
It is expected that the Bitung-Manado toll road, whose construction work has reached 80 percent completion, will support the efforts to facilitate investment in the Bitung KEK, according to the president.
"We are optimistic of being able to dedicate it to the public in October 2019," he remarked.
President Jokowi further explained that the development of KEKs was directed at boosting the nation's competitive edge.
"We earlier always exported raw materials. The presence of KEKs has led to development of the domestic processing industry, including in the areas of fishery, plantation, and also tourism," he added.
According to the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), domestic and foreign direct investment realization in Indonesia reached Rp721.3 trillion in 2018. It grew by 4.1 percent compared to the previous year.
Domestic direct investment realization in Indonesia reached Rp392.7 trillion last year. It increased by 25.3 percent compared to the previous year.
Foreign direct investment realization in Indonesia reached Rp328.6 trillion in 2018. It decreased by 8.8 percent compared to the previous year. (Antara)