Saturday, 14 December 2019

Walhi Deems China's OBOR Project May Pose New Debt Trap

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Markus Wisnu Murti

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  • Left to right: Walhi's  campaign and climate manager Yuyun Harmono; food, water and essential ecosystem manager Wahyu Pradana; and campaign manager Edo Rahman. TEMPO/Francisca Christy Rosana

    Left to right: Walhi's campaign and climate manager Yuyun Harmono; food, water and essential ecosystem manager Wahyu Pradana; and campaign manager Edo Rahman. TEMPO/Francisca Christy Rosana

    TEMPO.CO, JakartaThe Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) opined the One Belt and One Road or the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with the Chinese government might likely inflict three indirect losses on involved countries.

    “First, BRI will pin down partner countries in China’s debt trap,” said WALHI’s campaign and climate manager, Yuyun Harmono, when met at his office, Mampang, South Jakarta, Monday, April 29.

    The debt trap previously snared countries agreeing on the initiative with China, namely Sri Lanka and a few other countries in Africa. Yuyun predicted that Indonesia would possibly provide a guarantee for private parties despite signing a business-to-business (B2B) deal. Besides, he added, the B2B deal the government offered was still unclear.

    “The reason the government applies the B2B is problematic because deals involving foreign debt was guaranteed by the government thus far,” he explained. 

    ReadWalhi Deems Jokowi, Prabowo Have No Clear Agrarian Program

    Additionally, the environmental group considered the government overlooked issues on environment and climate. Based on Walhi’s data, 42 percent of projects offered by Indonesia was non-eco-friendly projects, such as coal electric power plants. This was against the Paris Agreement ratified by a number of countries on climate change and natural perseverance.

    The Belt and Road projects also potentially triggered corruption. “There’s already one example: PLTU 1 Riau graft case involving PLN [state electricity company] president director Sofyan Basir and a Chinese contractor,” said Yuyun. The large-scale project opened up a chance of corruption committed by elites, both from private parties and SOEs.

    The Belt and Road Initiative agreement was marked with the Belt and Road Summit held in Beijing, China, on April 25-28, in which a total of 37 countries participated, including Indonesia, which was represented by Vice President Jusuf Kalla, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi, and Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) chairman Thomas Lembong.

    FRANCISCA CHRISTY ROSANA