07
March

President Joko Widodo reviewed the recent condition of the Sentul Circuit in Bogor District, West Java Province, to be readied as one of the tracks for holding the MotoGP tournament in 2021.

"I have inspected the Sentul Circuit along with Tinton and Ananda Mikola to be readied as one of the MotoGP tracks. I said the government will support it," Jokowi stated here on Tuesday ( 6 / 3 ) 

Former racer Tinton Suprapto and his son Ananda Mikola accompanied the president during the inspection.

President Widodo rode the presidential vehicle along with security personnel for a lap to check the condition of the track. He stated that the government will fully support the development of the Sentul Circuit to become a world-class racing arena. President Widodo said the renovation of Sentul Circuit can contribute to widespread positive development in Indonesia.

"The racing competition is good. As we know, the motorcycle market in Indonesia is huge. There are at least 19 million users. We can channelize the potential of motorcycle fans in Indonesia," Jokowi noted in connection with the development of the national automotive industry.

He added that development of the Sentul Circuit can also contribute to the tourism sector.

"I believe the tourism sector can be boosted through the development. I hope Tinton and Ananda Mikhola would begin to develop the circuit, so that MotoGP 2021 can be held in Indonesia," Jokowi added.

Funds to renovate Sentul Circuit have been sourced from private sectors.

Additionally, Mikhola remarked that development of the Sentul Circuit is targeted for completion in 2020.

"We believe the development will be completed in 2020, as the infrastructure has been readied," Mikhola revealed.

Mikhola stated that Indonesia must be confident and optimistic of building quality and advanced infrastructure to hold world-class races. (antara)

07
March

Vice President Jusuf Kalla, Tuesday, held a discussion on an international conference on peace in Afghanistan to be hosted by Indonesia with the Indonesian Ulema Council`s (MUI`s) representatives during a visit to MUI`s office here.

"We have discussed preparations to hold the conference of ulemas from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Indonesia to be held this month," Kalla noted after a meeting with the MUI delegation here.

Kalla said he had yet to elaborate on the day to hold the trilateral clerical meeting. In essence, the meeting was an initiative to restore peace among people in Afghanistan. The meeting could result in agreements of recommendation or a decree to restore peace in Afghanistan.

According to Kalla, the condition in Afghanistan has led to peace but left a weapons dispute. It is marked by Taliban`s decision to consider adopting a political approach rather than a ceasefire.

"Afghanistan has agreed to hold a dialog for peace, and Taliban has agreed to not longer use weapons," he remarked.

Head of Foreign Affairs of MUI K. H. Muhyiddin Junaidi noted that the trilateral ulema meeting will be held on March 15, 2018. However, no names of any members of the Taliban delegation appeared on the list of ulemas.

Indonesia has been chosen by Afghanistan to mediate the matter due to its neutral stance. ( antara ) 

07
March

Government to Raise Energy Subsidies in 2018

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 The government will increase energy subsidy allocation this year as a result of the increase in the world crude prices, which exceed the state budget assumption at US$48 per barrel.

"The energy and mineral resources minister and the state-enterprises minister have calculated the needed subsidy addition yesterday," Finance Minister Sri Mulyani said in Jakarta on Tuesday.

Mulyani stated that the increase in the energy subsidies included diesel oil for state-owned oil and gas firm Pertamina. It will receive additional subsidy from the current allocation of Rp500 per liter.

The increase in energy subsidies is also related to the adjustment of the coal price in the domestic market (DMO) for electricity-generating plants managed by the state-owned electricity company PLN.

In this connection, the government has also calculated all the state receipt potentials from tax and non-tax sectors, which will be lost from coal exploitation.

"This is because coal companies are forced to sell at the same price as DMO, meaning the market price. We have also computed it," she remarked.

She added that the whole amount of energy subsidy addition will be revealed at the semester report on implementation of the 2018 State Budget that will be delivered to the DPR.

But the minister assured that the increase in the subsidy allocations would not disturb the balance sheets of Pertamina and PLN. It will remain to maintain the budget deficit set at 2.19 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.

Current energy subsidies in the 2018 state budget are set at Rp94.53 trillion, consisting of fuel subsidies amounting to Rp46, 9 trillion and electricity subsidies valued at Rp47.7 trillion.

Based on the government`s interim calculations, the increase in subsidies for diesel is projected to reach around Rp700 per liter to Rp1 thousand per liter from the current price of Rp500 per liter. Meanwhile, world oil price reached an average of $61.61 per barrel in February 2018, higher than the assumption of the State Budget of $48 per barrel. ( antara )

07
March

The Indonesian government is preparing scholarship for capacity building programs for the Afghans, as part of the country`s contribution in realizing peace in Afghanistan. The scholarships will be provided specifically for mining and religious studies, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said at the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) headquarter in Jakarta on Tuesday. "We have agreed to provide scholarship in the mining field for Afghanistan," she added.

The government is cooperating with the MUI to provide 135 scholarships for religious studies. Indonesia has shown support to tackle the prolonged conflict in Afghanistan by building the Indonesia Islamic Center (IIC) in Kabul that offers the Assalam Mosque and other facilities, such as a clinic, library and lodge.

On Feb 28, Vice President Jusuf Kalla has conducted the groundbreaking ceremony of a health clinic at IIC, which will be granted to the Afghan government and can later be used for offering public health services. In addition to that, the Afghan government also asked Indonesia to help increasing exports and imports to raise the competitiveness of their products while strengthening the economic sector of Afghanistan.( antara )