Indonesia has been refocusing its state spending to fund the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic with a cash-strapped budget. The government has allocated Rp 405 trillion (US$25.79 billion) of funding for the pandemic budget, causing state spending to increase by nearly 3 percent to Rp 2.6 quadrillion while revenue is expected to slump by 21 percent to Rp 1.7 quadrillion.Luhut expected the privately funded projects could continue their development and absorb workers while contributing to the country’s foreign exchange reserves.A project included in the PSN list will be granted an easier licensing process and accelerated land procurement, as well as government guarantees on any political risks.Septian Hario Seto, the Office of the Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister’s acting deputy head for investment coordination and mining, said that two of the proposed 11 new projects were an industrial zone and an industrial park. The Obi Island Industrial Zone in South Halmahera regency, North Maluku, he said, had almost 2,000 workers and it already had a phase-two rotary kiln-electric furnace (RKEF) smelter for ferronickel production with an estimated investment of $800 million.“The significant development [in the industrial zone] will be the high-pressure acid leaching [HPAL] smelter construction, which will be completed in the third quarter of 2020,” he said, adding that the investment for the smelter was estimated at $1 billion.The HPAL smelter produces material for lithium batteries, cobalt sulfate and nickel sulfate.Septian went on to say that the second suggested project for the PSN was the Weda Bay Industrial Park project, where a smelter operation was halted due to the coronavirus outbreak. The plan for its 2020 investment was around $4 billion to $5 billion while exports were estimated to reach at least $2 billion by 2024.The other nine projects are six smelter projects, one coal-to-methane processing area in East Kalimantan, a methane industrial area and the construction of the Kediri-Tulungagung toll road in East Java.“The projects’ investors are being financially evaluated to make sure they can finish the projects by 2024 and be included in the PSN,” he said.Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto said there were currently 232 new project proposals to be included in the PSN, 84 of which were proposed by ministries, 123 projects by regional governments and 17 by state and regional-owned enterprises (BUMN/D) and eight projects by private sector investors.At the same time, the government has scrapped 10 projects from the PSN list as their estimated completion times are beyond 2024, the year when President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s second term will end. (eyc)Topics : The government has been assessing 11 new infrastructure projects to be included in the National Strategic Projects (PSN) in a bid to attract investment and create jobs.”I had a discussion with the coordinating economic minister as we want to assess which projects [in the PSN] can be funded by the private sector, so that we won’t just rely on the state budget,” Coordinating Maritime and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan told a webstreamed coordination meeting on Wednesday, as quoted in the statement. His office did not elaborate on projects that might need to be scrapped.“Hopefully we can move fast given the current situation caused by the pandemic,” he said.
The UK High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr Matthew Johnson is upbeat about Ghana’s chances of beating England in Tuesday’s historic clash at the Wembley Stadium in London.He told Joy FM’s Super Morning Show host Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah that he was “very excited” by the international friendly encounter, which he said has been “long awaited”. He was emphatic the game “won’t be a draw”.“Genuinely, I think Ghana is going to come up on top,” Mr Johnson stressed, denying any traces of making diplomatic pronouncements.He said the people of England consider the Black Stars’ match against the Three Lions as very important, saying the venue for the game speaks volumes of its relevance.Matthew Johnson hoped it would have a “tremendous impact” there because football is the “number one sport” in the UK.However, the High Commissioner was not happy about the release of five key players from the England squad that would play Ghana today, which he said may affect the quality of the game which is highly anticipated. Even though the England manager has defended his decision, former Ghana captain Stephen Appiah says that was disrespectful, the BBC reported.England coach Fabio Capello has suggested he will change his entire starting XI for Tuesday’s home match, after releasing Captain John Terry and fellow defenders Ashley Cole and Michael Dawson, midfielder Frank Lampard as well as striker Wayne Rooney to their respective clubs.Matthew Johnson hoped the Black Stars would take advantage of the absence of these players to wallop his home country.“I am surprised [at] the release from the England side; so many of the England players. I would rather say they are going to play into Ghana’s hand.”Meanwhile Joy FM’s Sports Editor, speaking from London, said the mood in England is “cool” with little talk about the match. “May be it is a way of saying, ok, let’s take it easy against Ghana,” he remarked.He said generally people, including the Ghanaian players, are not happy about the release lessening the competitiveness of the match.The kick-off is 1900 GMT.Story by Isaac Essel/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana
Police say a Florida man took more than $70,000 in kickbacks for steering urine tests to a drug-testing lab in Pennsylvania.Delray Beach police arrested 35-year-old Daniel Kaine of Boca Raton last week.Police landed an investigation into Kaine by Palm Beach County’s Sober Homes Task Force began after last year’s arrest of Jason Gadreault. Gadreault was arrested in March 2019 on nine counts of patient brokering and one count of conspiracy to commit patient brokering.According to a Delray Beach police report, Gadreault claimed that Genesis Diagnostics, a Langhorne, Pennsylvania-based clinical lab licensed in the state of Florida to operate and perform, among other things, toxicology and urinalysis testing, paid him for each urine specimen he referred to Genesis for testing.Police said Genesis gave treatment centers and sober homes a percentage of insurance payments for the tests.Records show that Gadreault wrote 12 checks payable to DMK Marketing, a licensed corporation registered to Kaine. The corporation dissolved in September 2019.Kaine faces six counts of aiding, abetting, advising or participating in patient brokering.