Indonesia government plans to finalize land reform law by end of year
Jakarta Globe - November 24, 2010
Shirley Christie, Jakarta -- A draft bill to regulate land acquisition forpublic projects was sent to the president last week and would reach thelegislature before the end of the year, the head of the National LandAgency said on Wednesday.
The assurance came during a luncheon hosted by the Jakarta ForeignCorrespondents Club, where Joyo Winoto, the head of the agency, also knownas the BPN, was a guest speaker.
According to Joyo, the government plans to conduct "peaceful and lawful"agrarian reform to accelerate the country's infrastructure development andcorrect land ownership imbalances. Joyo said the reform was key to accelerating economic growth and allowingIndonesia to follow in the footsteps of countries like Japan, India andChina, all of which had successfully converted farm land forindustrialization while protecting the rights of land owners.
The government is restricted in its ability to redistribute land due tostrong public resistance. "We exercise ways to redistribute wealth withinsociety, but every time we talk about land acquisition, everyone ispessimistic," Joyo said.
He said the new Agrarian Law was based on the principles of Pancasila, thestate ideology, and existing laws. "Basically, with the Agrarian Law,Articles 1 to 15, the emphasis is on social justice. The rest is how tomanage control of land by society," he said.
Joyo added that the law would tread a middle line between socialism andcapitalism because it acknowledged private ownership but also involved thecommunity.
He later explained that the market-based agrarian reform strategy, whichhas been used by the World Bank, would expand the land market byfacilitating the transfer of ownership transparently and without force.
Countries such as Zimbabwe have adopted radical reform policies, butIndonesia, he said, did not want to head down that path.
Joyo said the government would determine land use through consensus andensure sale prices were based on transparent administrative value, alsocalled NJOP, determined by government officials. An independent landappraisal unit would determine land values, he said.
If the price was in dispute, landowners could appeal to a local court,which would have 14 days to decide on the value.
Vital infrastructure projects often grind to a halt due to land acquisitionproblems, which analysts say discourage potential investors.