Jakarta, 29 October 2017 — Leadership can help to reduce costs when projects are integrated through innovative solutions, says Arie Setiadi Moerwanto, Director General for Highways at Indonesia's Ministry of Public Works.
DG Arie Setiadi Moerwanto is passionate about using research in finding innovative solutions to development, especially for infrastructure.
As we caught up in Jakarta, he had just returned from the Netherlands, where he received the Alumnus of the Year 2017 award from the Rector of IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, the world's largest graduate school for water professionals.
When appointed to lead the Directorate General of Highways, he brought with him the knowledge that he had gathered during many years of experience in the Directorate General for Water Resources, and his access to a strong network of researchers and practitioners with experience in integrated water management projects.
Historically, innovation has moved faster in the transport sector than in the water sector, which tends to be more complex, as the challenge of water management requires a more diverse group of partners to collaborate across almost all sectors. In comparison, transport has moved ahead rapidly with highly-focused investments, that increasingly also bring on board the private sector.
As I listened to DG Moerwanto, he highlighted three areas where he has already introduced changes in the highways sector, building on his earlier experience with integrated water management.
Reducing infrastructure costs. The first change is to reduce the cost of government investments in the coastal zone, by introducing multifunctional infrastructure for transport and flood protection. Previously, such projects were typically implemented side by side, in institutional silos that resulted in a higher total cost to the government.
Now, by exploring where highways can be integrated with flood-protection dikes, the cost of infrastructure can be reduced, even if it takes a bit longer to plan and implement the integrated project. DG Moerwanto explained how he found ready support for this integrated solution from the provincial and city governments concerned.
Socially-inclusive projects. The second change he is leading is to promote socially-inclusive solutions for low-income communities by working closely with local governments and businesses on combining roads with housing projects. Here too did he find support for such approaches in his discussions with local governments concerned.
Innovating financing modalities. The third change he is leading with his team is to innovate the financing modalities for operating cost-effective highways infrastructure with a lower cost to the government over the longer term.
DG Moerwanto's passion for bringing diverse stakeholders together as partners in integrated projects is paying off, and he is looking forward to doing more of them.
As a leader, he excels in bringing partners together.