The Indonesian Government has recently launched a programme to build six economic corridors, with a focus on infrastructure development, in order to speed up economic growth.

The government expects that the programme would open the door for balanced development and allow regions to focus on their own economic potential.

In closing a two-day cabinet meeting at Bogor city, in Java province, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called on officials to focus on local businesses.

“Before inviting foreign partners, please look at our own resources first. State companies and local business players in the provinces should be given more opportunities under this programme,” Yudhoyono said.

Under its economic corridor programme, the government plans to build economic clusters and business centres on all major islands in Indonesia, including Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Papua to support local economies.

Under the programme, each island will have the chance to develop its own potential. For example, Sumatra would become a centre for agriculture and energy while Java would focus more on the service sector.

Coordinating Minister for the Economy Hatta Rajasa expressed his optimism at the possibility of mobilising capital from state-owned and local businesses.

In his opinion, during the next four years, Indonesia will be able to mobilise 90 billion USD for infrastructure development projects.

Besides, some countries have pledged loans for Indonesia’s economic corridor plan, Hatta said.

Late last year, Japanese companies promised to invest about 52.9 billion USD in Indonesia’s six economic corridors, while businesses from the Republic of Korea have recently committed 12 billion USD in some sectors as well as offered Indonesia soft loans at an annual interest rate of 0.15 percent.

Economists predict that Indonesia is likely to achieve an economic growth rate of more than 7 percent -- even 8 percent -- in the 2011-2014 period, if the country improves its infrastructure, including road systems, electricity plants and ports, and overcomes obstacles to development, such as corruption and a high proportion of unskilled workers./.