Jakarta governor-elect Joko Widodo aims to bring some fresh ideas to solving the city’s most taxing problems. The Solo mayor has said during his campaigning — and after he won the runoff election according to quick count — that Jakarta will no longer experience floods or traffic jams.
His economic plans, which this newspaper is calling Jokonomics, include streamlining bureaucracy and introducing facilities to enable lower-income groups to get better health care, housing and education services. The bottom-up planning will include the introduction of health and smart cards to enable access to free health and educational services. Jokowi wants residents to enjoy free education through high school, and the poor to get free medicine at public hospitals.
He has also announced plans to build low-cost housing in slum areas to provide better living conditions for the poor. These are admirable goals, but achieving them will be difficult.
If he wants to improve public transportation and better housing, he will have to convince the people living there to give up their space. This is one of the toughest challenges facing any governor. Past governors have tried this and failed.
The reality is that this is easier said than done. The governor-elect wants to allocate Rp 800 billion ($84 million) from his budget to provide free health-care cards and free schooling for the poorest members of society. But he will need to watch corruption and an influx of people into the capital who hope to benefit from these free services.
Jakarta, despite the lack of natural resources, contributes 13 percent of gross domestic product. The city’s economy is growing faster than the national economy, so maintaining the momentum will be crucial. While he works to improve the lives of the poor, he must also work with the private sector to create better standards.