President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo inaugurated a sugar factory in Bombana regency, Southeast Sulawesi, during an official work visit on Thursday.
He conveyed his enthusiasm for the new factory, noting that the decision to invest in an integrated sugar factory required a great deal of confidence given the current economic downturn resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is a form of bravery – the bravery to invest in and start a business in this region. We need to respect and appreciate it,” the President said as quoted in a written statement issued by the Presidential Press Bureau on Thursday.
The sugar factory, which was initially constructed in 2017 and began operations in August, has a maximum production capacity of 12,000 tons of cane per day.
Jokowi said that he expected the factory to absorb up to 15,000 of the country’s workforce throughout the coronavirus crisis.
He went on to say that the sugar factory was also expected to help meet the country’s need for 5.8 million tons of cane per year to reduce imports.
“It means that [the factory] could help improve the country’s foreign exchange,” Jokowi said, adding that only 2.1 tons of sugar cane had been produced domestically so far.