Jakarta (VOA) —
Jokowi added that this subsidy policy was actually carried out by many countries.
“Many have said why we are giving incentives to electric car buyers, the numbers are also very large. As far as I recall, motorized vehicles were Rp. 7 million, subsidized electric cars were around Rp. 70 million. What is this for? Yes because other countries also do that. For example, Thailand provides subsidies for electric cars 68 (million rupiah). If we are below that, all investment will go there, will not go to Indonesia,” said Jokowi, in his remarks on Constitution Day and the Republic of Indonesia’s MPR Anniversary, at the MPR Building, Senayan, Jakarta, Friday (18/7).
Furthermore, the former governor of DKI Jakarta emphasized that this policy is an example of a government policy that is adaptive to world changes which are very dynamic and fast. Giving subsidies, said Jokowi, could invite investment.
“Oh, other countries, we have to adjust better. Oh, our competitors are like that, so what should we do? That’s what has to be formulated. We have to learn what other countries are doing, and we have to be adaptive. If competitors make policy changes, we must too, and our policies must be better than theirs. So once again flexibility is very important,” he said.
The government, he said, must not be shackled by rigid rules that hinder the vision and mission.
“Give executive freedom to be agile in dealing with change and uncertainty, which of course must be accompanied by effective oversight. In my opinion, this means that the regulation must provide flexibility, so that we can move quickly in taking advantage of opportunities to win the competition, to win the competition with other countries. Because in this era of competition, to be able to win we have to be better than our competitors, with other countries,” he explained.
Subsidy Policy Does Not Solve Problems
Urban Issues Campaigner for the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI) Abdul Ghofar explained that from the start his party had rejected the policy of providing incentives for people who wanted to buy private electric vehicles.
He explained, with the total subsidy reaching IDR 7 trillion, the government should be able to use it to improve mass transportation facilities and infrastructure that are still in disarray in various big cities in Indonesia. It was this situation, he said, that made many people reluctant to switch to mass transportation.
“The efforts, for example, are vehicle restrictions. Efforts to minimize the number of vehicles by accelerating the improvement of public transportation that is more integrated into residential areas. So the electric vehicle subsidy money that is directed to industry and to private use can actually be diverted to improve public transportation that is integrated and enters residential areas. Not only in Jakarta, it should be able to target Serang, to Bandung, to big cities which lead to the same problem, namely an increase in air pollution problems,” said Ghofar.
President Jokowi examines electric motorbikes at the Electric Vehicle Ecosystem Development collaboration event in Jakarta. (Doc photo: Secretariat Bureau)
WALHI also sees that subsidies for electric vehicles can actually trigger congestion, because they encourage many people to buy.
“And this is just replacing vehicles, not solving the problem of excess vehicles. ,” he said.
“This means that if the electrification of vehicles takes place massively, yes, energy consumption from fossil fuels will also increase. So the vehicle is low emission but the source of energy is still high emission. It should go hand-in-hand, yes, transportation improvements, electrification of public transportation yes, adding fleets, adding corridors but going hand in hand with the energy transition, generating sources that contribute a certain percentage to pollution are slowly being retired,” he explained.
Djoko Setijowarno, Academician of the Soegijapranata Catholic University Civil Engineering Study Program and Deputy Chair of the Strengthening and Regional Development of the Indonesian Transportation Society (MTI) also expressed a similar sentiment.
Reflecting on other countries, he said, subsidies are only given if the condition of transportation services in general is very well organized.
“It’s different in Indonesia, which is currently experiencing a public transport crisis and a traffic accident crisis. Of course, electric vehicle policies can reduce or mitigate both of these crises. Instead, the incentive policy will add another new problem, namely traffic congestion,” said Djoko.
He believes, if the improvement of mass transportation is carried out properly then slowly but surely people will switch to leaving their private vehicles for daily activities. He sees that the government’s budget is large enough to make improvements to mass transportation so that eventually it can reduce congestion and pollution.
Djoko gave an example, before 2013 the Jabodetabek KRL service was so bad that it was only able to transport an average of 350 passengers per day. However, after making various improvements on all sides, within five years the number of passengers jumped to 1.1 million in 2018.
Djoko also said that revamping public transportation should not only focus on Jakarta, but also on buffer zones, such as Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi (Bodetabek).
“Routine assistance from the DKI Jakarta APBD every year to regional governments in Bodetabek for several years can be focused on improving public transportation services in their respective regions,” he concluded. (gi/ab)