In April, Indonesia’s fisheries minister, Sakti Wahyu Trenggono, announced there would be no funding from the 2022 national budget to develop the National Fish Bank in Maluku province, or a new port in Ambon, the provincial capital. The two national infrastructure projects had caused a buzz in the eastern Indonesian province when President Joko Widodo announced them during a visit there in March 2021.
The National Fish Bank would have been an integrated fisheries center or port with international and domestic container terminals, a liquefied natural gas terminal and a power plant with a dedicated kilometer-long pier, as well as fish auction and processing buildings.
This is the second time in 10 years that the central government has promised and scuttled the National Fish Bank project. The first time the project was proposed was under the administration of Widodo’s predecessor, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. This time, the outcry from the province two time zones away from the nation’s capital was shrill.
“It is unfair to say that there is no money,” Saadiah Uluputty, a member of parliament representing Maluku, said in a video she sent to Mongabay. “There cannot be an excuse. This [project] is related to the president’s promises during a trip to Maluku. To suddenly say that there is no money is a public lie.”