Gov’t Prepares COVID-19 Exit Strategy
Date 5 Mei 2020
The Government is preparing exit strategy for COVID-19 pandemic to mitigate the health sector problems from affecting other sectors particularly the economy, according to Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto.
“The Government has imposed Large-scale Social Restrictions (locally known as PSBB) to break the COVID-19 transmission chain. Thus, it will not accelerate the number of new cases. In fact, COVID-19 infection rates are predicted to taper off in May,” the Coordinating Minister said when responding to reporters’ questions on economic growth and demand as the impact of COVID-19 pandemic after a Limited Meeting, Tuesday (5/5).
He went on to say that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted that three countries,- Indonesia, China, and India-, will have positive economic growth. For the record, the Government has set 2.3 percent annual growth target for 2020.
“A decline in economic growth in the first quarter (of 2020) also happened to 213 countries. Nevertheless, Indonesia still achieves a positive growth,” Airlangga said.
However, he added, household consumption expenditure and exports and imports are indeed declining since industries and production in most countries experience a “shutdown” due to the pandemic.
“We expect the exit strategy program can adopt ‘new normal’ method, for example, factories that still operate must strictly follow COVID-19 health protocols,” he added.
Regarding staple food, the Coordinating Minister said that the National Logistics Agency (Bulog) will absorb 900,000 to 1.4 million tons of farmers’ rice. In addition, the Agency will also distribute 450,000 tons of rice for social assistance program.
“Thus, Bulog can buy considerable amount of dry unhusked rice from the farmers. The Agency is predicted to have 4.7 million tons of rice stocked at its warehouses by the end of this year and is continue to maintain more than 1 million tons for government rice reserve,” he explained.
On that occasion, the Coordinating Minister also touched on the issue of sugar that the product is also expected to be available in the market in the near future since 25,000 tons of sugar will be supplied by the Bulog.
“In addition, 140,000 tons of refined sugar and 9,000 tons which are initially set for export are reallocated to domestic markets. The stock is expected to increase in the upcoming months,” he said.
Out of 11 commodities, he added, sugar and garlic must be imported. The stock of garlic will meet the demand until Eid 2020 since 94,000 tons of garlic had entered the market in April, and other 78,000 tons to be available in May, while domestic consumption of garlic is only 50,000 tons.
Regarding extensification of peatland in Kalimantan to be used as agricultural area in order to support food security, the Coordinating Minister said that this matter will be further reviewed since infrastructure and characteristics of peatland for yield of rice is different than agricultural land in Java Island.
In addition, season zones will also be considered. The Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has predicted Java, South Sulawesi, and East Nusa Tenggara will face severe drought, while Kalimantan has more rainfall until November.
“The condition will be considered for alternative location (for the extensification) that will be studied by Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing, and a number of State-owned Enterprises. (TGH/EN)
Translated by : Rany Anjany
Reviewed by: Mia Medyana