MEDAN: Nias Island, a remote yet beautiful island in North Sumatra where around 30 percent of its population is still short of electricity, is determined to achieve 100 percent electrification this year.
State-owned electricity firm PLN has allocated Rp 354 billion (US$24.8 million) for village electrification projects in Nias this year, a significant increase from Rp 90 billion in 2018 and Rp 50 million in 2017.
Citing a recent meeting between all local administrations in Nias, Regional Representatives Council member from North Sumatra, Parlindungan Purba, said all stakeholders were optimistic about the electrification programs on the island this year.
“In the meeting between relevant stakeholders and regents of Nias, as well as Gunung Sitoli’s mayor recently, everyone agreed that all villages in the region must have access to the power grid this year,” he said on Saturday. “Nias is a region with potential [in tourism and fisheries] but it lacks electricity.”
South Nias Tourism and Culture Agency head Anggreani Dachi said electricity was vital to spur economic growth.
“It’s difficult to develop Nias tourism when electricity problems still haunt us,” Anggreani said on Sunday.
Located off the western coast of North Sumatra, Nias is known for its world-class surfing spots.
During his visit to Nias in 2016, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo instructed local administrations in the regency to focus on the two sectors with the most potential, tourism and fisheries, while the central government worked to solve electricity problems in the region.
Source: Jakarta Post, 7 January 2019