Indonesia’s president has decided to move the capital of the world’s fourth most populous country away from the crowded main island of Java, but has yet to finalize a new location, the planning minister said on Monday, ONA reports citing Reuters.
“The president chose to relocate the capital city to outside of Java, an important decision,” Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro told a news conference after a cabinet meeting.
Brodjonegoro said the administration had yet to pick a new location, but was looking at the eastern side of the sprawling archipelago.
The current capital, Jakarta, is home to more than 10 million people, but around three times that many people live in the surrounding towns adding to the area’s severe congestion.
Brodjonegoro put the annual economic loss due to traffic congestion in Jakarta at 100 trillion rupiah ($7.04 billion).
The low-lying capital is also prone to flooding and is sinking due to over-extraction of ground water.
In making his decision, President Widodo had also taken into account the fact that nearly 60 percent of Indonesia’s 260 million people live in Java and economic activities were concentrated there, Brodjonegoro said.
The planning minister did not estimate the cost of moving the capital but said the president had ordered the finance ministry to come up with a financing scheme that allowed participation of private investors.
He said moving the capital could take up to 10 years, citing examples such as Brazil and Kazakhstan.