North Sulawesi wants its own special economic zone
North Sulawesi Governor Olly Dondokambey is demanding that the central government establish a special economic zone (KEK) in the province to transform the province into an economic hub in eastern Indonesia.
He has proposed integrating the KEK with Bitung Port. Doing so would transform the port into an international port, he claims.
“In our concept, North Sulawesi will host a seaport that will become a logistics center for other regions in eastern Indonesia,” Olly said in Manado recently, adding that the establishment of an international port in Bitung would create coast efficiencies for the distribution of goods to nearby provinces.
He gave as an example the fact that people in eastern Indonesia have to buy garments produced in China through Jakarta, while actually the Chinese products are imported through Singapore even though shipments from China to Bitung are technically closer.
“Why doesn’t the government open up direct shipments from China to Bitung? If this happens, businessmen from Gorontalo, Maluku and other provinces in eastern Indonesia will not need to purchase garments from Tanah Abang [market in Jakarta]. It will cut costs,” he added.
In the first quarter of this year, North Sulawesi’s economic growth hit 6.42, higher than the national growth rate. (bbn)