Jakarta to seize land for public projects

Jakarta to seize land for public projects

JAKARTA - Agence France-Presse
Jakarta to seize land for public projects Indonesia’s parliament on Friday passed a long-anticipated bill allowing the government to seize land for public projects in an attempt to speed up much-needed infrastructure development.

“The land law will be beneficial for the nation as we can now roll out infrastructure smoothly. The law also assures the rights of people who will be affected by development,” lawmaker Daryatmo Mardiyanto said in a statement.

The law will likely appease foreign investors who have been waiting since it was first proposed two years ago. Surveys in recent years have shown that Indonesia’s poor infrastructure is the main deterrent to doing business there.

The bill gives the government the right to seize civilian land for projects such as roads, railways, ports, airports and power plants, in exchange for compensation. It will take effect once it is signed by the president within 30 days.

The Indonesian Employers’ Association said that tackling the land acquisition bottleneck would have a ripple effect on other development projects.

“Over the last two years, we have won many tenders and secured around Rp 400 trillion ($44.4 billion) in bank loans for various projects, but they can’t go ahead until we have the right ports, railways and other infrastructure,” association chairman Sofjan Wanandi said.

The government is planning a $440 billion public infrastructure overhaul by 2014 and is relying on private investment to foot 90 percent of the bill.

Its plans have been stalled in the past by public resistance to land seizures.