Introductory Remarks of President of the Republic of Indonesia at the Limited Cabinet Meeting on the Acceleration of Cash Labor-Intensive Program Tuesday, 7 April 2020, at the Merdeka Palace, Jakarta
Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
Limited Cabinet Meeting today will discuss the acceleration of cash labor-intensive program. We want to protect the people from the spread of COVID-19, but also we want to maintain people’s purchasing power, especially poor people in rural areas. To maintain people’s purchasing power in rural areas, the Government uses two approaches that move simultaneously.
First, distribution of social protection programs that we had talked about earlier. Secondly, we want to accelerate the implementation of cash labor-intensive program that can provide jobs and maintain the purchasing power of our people in rural areas.
I want to emphasize a few things. First, to all ministers, heads of institutions, and heads of regional governments to add more cash labor-intensive programs. The current situation is abnormal and people are in a difficult position. Therefore, the expansion of cash labor-intensive program is the duty of all ministries, institutions and regions. So, if you usually prepare only 10 programs, now you have to make it 50, at least 5 times over. There will not be a kick if we do business as usual.
I found several ministries have programs that are labor-intensive. In Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing, Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Ministry of SOEs, I think labor-intensive programs can be done there.
Second, this might also be massively carried out and implemented within the Village Funds scheme. We can utilize the Village Funds for two things; the first is for social assistance for affected residents and the second is for cash labor-intensive program in the village, which must be accelerated.
From the report that I received at the end of March 2020, only 32 percent of Village Funds that have been distributed, which means we only use 9.3 trillion from the first phase ceiling of 28 trillion. This means that out of a total of 72 trillion, only 13 percent has been utilized which is very small. I urge Ministry of Village to create guidelines, provide guidance so that this cash labor-intensive program can be massive and be right on target. And it must give priority to poor families, unemployed persons, and underemployed persons. If possible, the workers’ wage is paid daily. But if it is not possible, once a week.
Third, I also want to remind you that the implementation of this cash labor-intensive program must follow a strict health protocol. Keep your distance, wear a face mask, so that the implementation of cash labor-intensive programs does not interfere with our efforts in breaking the chain of COVID-19 transmission.
I think that is my introductory remarks.