BRR to focus on Nias, wind up work by 2009

Wednesday, May 30, 2007
By nias

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Aceh-Nias Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency (BRR) wants to wrap up its additional Nias earthquake plan by 2009, despite the Nias administration asserting the work should continue through to 2011.

A BRR official said Monday in Jakarta that the previous rehabilitation and reconstruction plan had not taken into consideration the damage from the May 2005 earthquake that killed almost 1,000 people.

“The action plan is designed to evaluate the two-year post-tsunami program and initiate the two-year program that will culminate in 2009, as well as accommodate an additional exit strategy,” said William Sabandar, the head of BRR’s Nias office.

He said reconstruction work in Nias was nearly 40 percent complete and should be finished by April 2009.

William was speaking Monday at a seminar on BRR’s Nias action plan. The 2007 plan will focus more on the development of electrical and telecommunications infrastructure, housing, social institutions and on making the economy more competitive.

The BRR will begin transferring responsibility for the development plan to the local administration next year, with the expectation that Nias officials will be able to handle any future disasters.

“The transition will initiate in 2008 and must be finished by 2009,” William said, adding that BRR’s “exit transfer” is non-negotiable.

The Nias administration and the BRR established a joint-secretariat for the exit transfer back in May 2006. The BRR was created to function as a facilitator to coordinate planning, programming and evaluation and to manage information and data in accordance with the rehabilitation and reconstruction program. It also works to strengthen the stakeholders’ relationships and promote good governance.

“The joint-secretariat is expected to take over all of BRR’s programs,” William said.

He said that starting this year, every plan would be derived from the secretariat.

With the livelihoods of thousands hinging on success or failure, it is hoped an efficient, successful partnership can be developed between the BRR and the local administration.

William said the BRR would begin cutting back on its personnel starting next year because of a dwindling budget, and that the agency was focused on completing its work based on the action plan program.

Meanwhile, Nias Vice Regent Temazaro Harefa said the BRR would have to extend its plan to 2011 because the rehabilitation and reconstruction program seems unlikely to be completed within the next two years.

He said the program had not been optimal and that the people of Nias are unhappy about its progress.

The head of the South Nias Development Planning Agency, Herman Laia, said the BRR needed to increase security and defense in Nias’s outer islands and develop the fishery and tourism potentials around the islands.

According to 2007 data from the National Development Planning Board (Bappenas), total losses in Nias are estimated at Rp 6 trillion (US$682 million).

William said the BRR had received Rp 2.5 trillion from the national budget and Rp 2 trillion from the Multi-Donor Fund, United Nation agencies, the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, the International Red Cross and Oxfam.

The BRR plans to ask the Indonesian government and donors to provide the remaining Rp 1.5 trillion.

By February 2007, the BRR had constructed 9,000 houses, relaid 200 kilometers of roads, rebuilt 70 bridges and a number of irrigation networks and also repaired about 300 fishing boats.

The island needs an additional 15,000 new houses, as well as repairs to 45,000 damaged homes and buildings. (08)

Source: The Jakarta Post, 30 May 2007

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