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Jokowi may delay move to Nusantara as lack of water and electricity hampers slow progress in Indonesia’s new capital

JAKARTA: President Joko Widodo looks set to delay plans to work from Indonesia’s new capital Nusantara amid a struggle to get clean water and electricity supplies up and running.

Mr Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, had earlier expressed confidence that he would be able to work from his new office in East Kalimantan in early July.

His pledge to work from there was widely seen as a move to shore up confidence in the mega project following the resignation of Nusantara Capital Authority chief Bambang Susantono and his deputy Dhony Rahajoe in June.

The $32 billion project has struggled to attract investors and has experienced delays, with key infrastructure still to be completed weeks before Indonesia’s Independence Day celebrations on August 17.

Those overseeing the project, including the Ministry of Public Works and Housing, have informed the president that the basic infrastructure is not yet ready, Widodo told media in Jakarta on Monday (July 8).

“Is the water ready? Is the electricity ready? Is the place ready? If everything is ready, we will move in,” Widodo was quoted as saying by news outlet Kompas.com.

A presidential decree to formally declare Nusantara, also known as Ibukota Negara or IKN, as the nation’s capital will depend on the progress of the project and could be issued by his successor, Prabowo Subianto, Widodo added.

Mr Subianto will be sworn in as president in October, and Widodo’s son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, will be vice president.

“The presidential decree could be before or after October. We see the situation on the ground. We don’t want to force something that is not ready yet; don’t force it,” Widodo said.

However, Jakarta Provincial Secretary Joko Agus Setyono said on Tuesday that the presidential decree on the relocation of the capital could be expected in the coming days or next week.

According to Basuki Hadimuljono, acting head of the Nusantara Capital Authority and Minister of Public Works and Public Housing, some basic infrastructure, such as the provision of drinking water, will be available by July 15. Basuki added that he would carry out checks there on July 19.

According to previously announced targets, the Nusantara infrastructure to be completed this month includes the presidential office, the presidential palace, four three-story office complexes for coordinating ministers and an exclusive field where the Independence Day commemoration will be held.

Housing for the 36 ministers is also expected to be completed, as well as 12 of the 47 residential towers for civil servants. Some 12,000 civil servants from 38 ministries and institutions are expected to move to Nusantara in September, marking the first phase of the plan to populate the new capital.

The final stage of Nusantara’s construction is scheduled to be completed by Indonesia’s centenary in 2045.

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