The Middle Class is the Main Motor of the Papuan Economy – Deputy II for Human Development of the Presidential Staff Office (KSP) Abetnego Tarigan stressed the importance of the role of the middle economic class in developing the economy, especially in Papua.

“We are too obsessed with taking as many Papuans as we can to a high level. But we often forget the middle economic class. Whereas, the largest economic turnover is in the middle class,” said Abetnego, quoted from the official KSP broadcast.

He explained, the number of middle economic class in Papua is still very small. As a result, many vacancies in the middle class strata are filled by immigrants. This is also what makes the economic cycle still in the city/district centers and flows out of the Papua province.

In addition to these structural problems, Abetnego also acknowledged that the cultural perspective of civil servants as the only best choice of profession also resulted in a high unemployment rate and a low level of entrepreneurial innovation.

“KSP will encourage vocational strengthening, especially in Papua. We need media assistance to form a good image of vocational education and provide information about what kind of fields are needed in Papua,” said Abetnego.

He provided an example of strengthening vocational training in Sulawesi through the Mining Vocational High School which gave birth to skilled workers in the mining sector. For him, the response to a sector that is growing in an area through vocational training will be able to expand employment opportunities for local workers.

Data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) in 2021 still records Papua as the province with the highest poverty rate in Indonesia, reaching 26.8 percent. However, the growth of the Human Development Index (HDI) of Papua Province in the last five years is believed to continue to improve, although nationally it is still relatively low.

According to the Head of Research and Documentation of the Papua Information Commission, Syamsuddin Levi, the government needs to empower, assist, and educate young Papuans to prevent negative actions from occurring.

“The thing that triggers the conflict in Papua is the economic problem. So the government needs to empower, provide assistance and education, especially for young people in Papua. This not only builds their skills, but also prevents them from turning to negative actions,” he said.

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