Arab Today, arab today indonesia\s policy makers challenged to turn huge population into advantage
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Indonesia\'s policy makers challenged to turn huge population into advantage

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Indonesia\'s policy makers challenged to turn huge population into advantage

Jakarta - Xinhua

Although Indonesia has been a huge domestic market, its huge population still needs to be well managed and directed so as to bring more advantages, otherwise they are vulnerable to be serious obstacles, experts have said. Two experts told Xinhua in interviews recently that more supporting policies and measures were badly need to make the country\'s over 240 million population bring more benefit rather than create problems. Economic expert from the respected Institute for Development of Economic and Finance (INDEF) Alviliani said with the huge population, a large fertile territory and abundance natural resources, Indonesia was potential to be a global source of foods and energy on condition that the government unveiled supporting policies and measures. Nevertheless, lacking of such policies and the efforts, the huge population could bring serious criminal problems and spoil those benefit already gained from the huge population, the expert said. \"The opportunity is that with the huge population and this natural condition we can be a global source of foods and energy. We can be more respected. We have that potential,\" she said. With a large number of population, and sound-macro economic fundamentals and relatively stable political condition, Indonesia has been a huge market that had helped the country survived during the global financial routs in 2008-2009, and has been an attractive destination for foreign products. Taking an example that currently many international car-makers has insisted Indonesia as their production base. To improve the human resources quality, the expert said that for short term, the policy makers should put their efforts more on issuance of policies and measures and for long term, it could be done thought the improvement of education, whose financing has been the highest at the state budget of 20 percent. In agriculture sector for instance, to boost the production of rice, the main foods for most of Indonesian people and some of the global population, the government had to expand rice fields and agricultural plantation to outside Java island, the most populated island, decrease the reliance on the commodity as the main food and issue policies which can support highly-educated people in agriculture to play more roles on developing the sector. With huge territory and most of population live in agriculture sectors, Indonesia has targeted 10 million ton rice surplus per year within five to ten years. The Indonesian government forecasts that rice production will rise to 70.6 million tons this year from 67 million tons last year, former deputy agriculture minister Bayu Krisnamurthi has said. Currently, the government has planned to open more than one thousands hectares land in Papua for food security. There are some others big islands in the country with low population density potential for opening of new plantation. The expert said the diversification of main food source could ease the way of cultivation and decline rice prices. \"We should not only consume rice as main food, but also corn, cassava, and sago palm. The cultivation of rice or paddy is vulnerable against lacking of waters, but the others are not,\" she said. Extreme weather had decreased rice outputs and hampered its supply in Indonesia from the end of last year to January this year, shooting inflation to a 21-month high of 7.02 percent in January. Indonesia is forecast to face longer drought this year, while the global weather uncertainty still threatens, according to the country\'s Meteorology and Geophysics Agency. On energy, with good management and policies, Indonesia cold bring more benefit fro its abundance natural resources, including liquefied natural gas (LNG) and coal, said Alviani. Indonesia, the third larger liquefied natural gas exporter in the world, is trying to entice with explorers to develop oil and gas areas to comply with rising energy demand and make up the loss of production due to aging well and lack of new investment. Over 70 percent of the country\'s population are in productive ages and many of them have been highly educated, according to Alviani. Nevertheless, she warned lacking of such efforts could lead them into serious criminal problems. \"They have to be directed. Made more policies supporting it, otherwise they could turn into criminals, such as terrorism,\" she said. Indonesia has been made as a hub of militant activity, including conducting a series of major terrorist strikes since 2000 that killed over 270 people. Expert from Centre for Strategic and International Studies ( CSIS) Pande Raja Silalahi said that in a country with a huge population a large-scale economic activity could be done, but it also threatened to create a serious problem should they were poorly managed and directed. \"In a country with a large number of population, a huge economic activity can be done, but low human resources quality could trigger various of social problems, The government had to boost education and training for them,\"said Silalahi. To feed the large number of people, the expert said that on short term the government could meet it through importation, but for long term it should be done by improving food supply from domestic source by intensifying agriculture activity. Besides, Indonesia\'s economic growth must be accelerated, said Silalahi. Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono targets an annual economic growth average of 6.6 percent by reminder of his term by 2014 so as to create million of jobs through building massive infrastructure. The condition above is reflected on the view of a house wife in a dense populated area in Jakarta named only Rohimah 39 years. Se said that many of the youngsters in her neighborhood had difficulty to find job due to high competition and lacking of education. \"Many of people, including my relative are still jobless, the competition to find job is so high. But, for those having high education and other skill, it is not difficult,\" she told Xinhua in an interview. Rohimah said that many of the jobless youngsters tended to engage in criminal, such as stealing, gambling and consuming drug. To have high education, the parent had often got problem of financing, she said. \"Now, I still can afford for the payment of my children studies as they are still at an elementary school and senior high school, but I do not know what will happen later after they graduate from senior high school. To study in a university needs a lot of money,\" she said.  

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