Opening Remarks of President of the Republic of Indonesia at the Inauguration of the 5th National Deliberation of the Indonesian Regency Government Association (APKASI) on 26 March 2021 at the State Palace in Special Capital Region of Jakarta

By Office of Assistant to Deputy Cabinet Secretary for State Documents & Translation     Date 26 Maret 2021
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Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

Good morning,

May peace be upon us all.

Om Swastiastu,

Namo Buddhaya,

Greeting of Virtue.

Distinguished Ministers of the Indonesia Onward Cabinet, Minister of Home Affairs, Cabinet Secretary,

Distinguished Chairperson of the Indonesian Regency Government Association (APKASI) Abdullah Azwar Anas and all members of APKASI Management Board,

Distinguished Regents across Indonesia who are present virtually and at the Palace in Jakarta, all members of regency government,

Ladies and Gentlemen.

First of all, I would like to offer my sincerest appreciation and thanks to the regents who have worked hard for the past year to serve and guide the people in tackling the pandemic, as well as to help to successfully execute the Central Government’s programs.

Let me remind you that our task to manage the COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet. The risk of COVID-19 transmission still exists and we must rebuild the economy. Be careful of COVID-19 transmission risk.

This morning—every morning I always have a briefing of these numbers. In Europe, in India where the number of COVID-19 cases has dropped, it suddenly tripled and quadrupled. Thank God, in January, we had 13,000, 14,000, and even 15,000 daily cases. The number has now dropped to around 5,000-6,000 daily cases and we will continue to lower it.

Today India has 59,000 daily cases, Brazil has 90,500 daily cases, the United States of America has 66,000 (daily cases). We need to be careful. We must remain vigilant and prepared although we only have 5,000 (daily cases). We must be careful. The virus is invisible. We do not know where it is, how it spreads, or what media transmit it. Therefore, the only way is to remain vigilant and prepared.

Distinguished regents,

We must continue to safeguard and prioritize strategic programs in regencies that can solve fundamental problems and make a huge breakthrough. Do follow through.

First, this is crucial and I have frequently stated that we must undertake budget consolidation seriously, especially in the midst of a period when our budget is shaken up by the COVID-19 pandemic. Budget consolidation. What does it mean? We must review regional budgets thoroughly. If you usually do not open it in detail, you must open it in detail now. Check the details. Where does it go? What is the output? What is the outcome? Everything must be calculated. Everything must be counted. Do not spend it. I have also frequently stated it. Do not spend money for many shopping posts. Every office is given everything. We do not have a priority scale. We are not aware of the priorities.

I suppose two (programs) are enough for regencies, set a priority. “I want all market constructions in my regency to be completed in five years,” alright. Concentrate the budget there. “I want to open a new paddy field with an area of x thousand hectares,” alright. Concentrate it there. Concentrate 60-70 percent of the budget there. The people will remember, “Oh, there is a massive paddy field preparation. Oh, this is completed. There are a total of 60 markets built in the regency.” Do not, once again, give all the money to the office.

It will increase. Next year, the budget will increase by 10 percent. Everyone will then be given additional 10 percent, 10 percent, 10 percent. Nothing will be done. Trust me. Nothing will be done. If you as regents set a priority, it will be clear. “I want all of the roads in the regency to be smooth,” then concentrate 60 percent of the budget there, to villages. Give it five years and it will be done. I am confident that it will be done, unlike if the budget is scattered everywhere.

Once again, do not scatter the budget everywhere. Do not spread it to all shopping posts. It will not be completed. One year, two years went by. “Where did the money go?” Before you know it, it has been five years. Not chosen because you are obscure. “The regent has been in office for five years, but the work is invisible, nothing is built.” Well, because the budget is spread to all shopping posts.

Once again, undertake budget consolidation. I have addressed a little about the program. There has to be only two priority programs that are fully funded to produce the optimal product that is truly in demand and gives direct benefits to the public. I always say that money follows programs. Budget has to follow the priority of the regents. Budget has to be focused on essential things that are truly needed. Once again, budget is limited. The State Budget is limited. The regional budgets are also limited. Do not spread it. Do not allocate it evenly. Let me remind you over and over again. Do not allocate it evenly. Do not spread it to all organization units in your regencies. Most importantly, if budget is focused (on priority programs) there will be a priority scale. It will be easier to control and the supervisory management is also easy.

Second, this is the key, plan carefully. Plan carefully. What do you regents want? What is new? What do we want? Examine thoroughly, will it be useful for the people? Plan it in detail and well. If it has been planned—this is management, the planning is good, we have the organization, the program is carried out, but most importantly supervisory management, once again, must be carried out. Control management must be carried out. The management problem that often occurs is mismanagement. There are a lot of evidence in the field that a lack of strict supervision leads to poor product quality. Absence of good control management leads to late completion and bad quality. The only good aspect left is the expenditure record. The report is good, but the realization is not good and the result cannot be enjoyed by the people. We must avoid this.

Third, I order you to handle the COVID-19 pandemic. Once again, always be prepared. I always check the daily cases in regencies and cities after provinces. The number decreases and more patients have recovered. However, once again, always be prepared. Carry out tests, tracing, and treatments. Test, trace, then isolate, treat. These must be done. Especially red zones, orange zones, we must keep pushing so that they become green zones.

Once again, handling COVID-19 deals with economic growth of regencies / cities, provinces, or the nation. It is not easy. Once (regulations) in a sector is loosened, we continue to monitor if the number of COVID-19 cases increases. Once it increases, we close it.

Regents should do the same. For example, school is reopened with limited learning. You need to check thoroughly if the number of daily cases increases. Once it does, be careful. Create a policy quickly. The same applies to, for example, market reopening. COVID-19 (cases) doubled, so close it. Because if you do not, COVID-19 (handling) will not succeed, (the number of cases) continues to increase, the economy will not grow, it keeps declining. Be careful because it is related.

Fourth, do oversee vaccination programs. Oversee vaccination programs in detail and monitor the execution. Why did I come to North Halmahera, to Central Maluku, come all the way to inspect (the vaccination program) I want to ensure that the vaccines are distributed to the regions, to know whether the distribution is late. They are indeed not enough because we want to vaccinate over 181.5 million (people). So many. But as regents, you must know who are prioritized and control it.

People other than health care workers and public service workers have now begun (to be vaccinated). Do prioritize places with high interaction and mobility rates, such as a market, which has high human interaction and mobility rates. Prioritize it. Bus terminals, for example, (have) high mobility, high interaction. Prioritize them. Everyone must understand it because this strategy—why must we make this strategy? Because the vaccines are limited and they arrive slowly. No, they are not. I ask you—we have booked 426 million doses of vaccine, but it comes little by little. At first, it was seven million, then it went up to 11 million, then it increased again little by little. Perhaps, many doses will arrive in July or August this year.  Perhaps there can be 60-70 million doses.

Once again, do oversee vaccination programs in detail. Ensure that the vaccination process is quick. Prepare the vaccinators well and know the targets (of vaccination) in your regency. When I come to a regency and ask, you have to fully understand the target. How many will be vaccinated in Regency A? “Wait a minute, Sir.” Regents must understand, “oh, 182,000 (people), Sir.” Do not say approximately, “Approximately 200,000, Sir.” It means that you do not understand. You must be able to answer. “How many will be vaccinated?” “212,300”, for example. It means it is detailed, you understand. When asked, “How many COVID-19 daily cases are there now? “Wait a minute, Sir. I will ask the Health Agency, Sir.” This is an important matter that everyone must know, regents.

Fifth, economic recovery acceleration is the key, but once again, we must control the gas and brake pedals, like I stated before. If we reopen a market and (the number of) COVID-19 (cases) increases, be careful, close it again. Do it per sector. Do not open all sectors hastily. Be careful because like I told you earlier, (the cases in) India has drastically decreased, but now it spiked. In Europe, the third wave decreased, then tripled, quadrupled. Be careful.

Economic recovery, so the most important thing is to multiply labor-intensive programs, build labor-intensive schools, build labor-intensive irrigation because the people currently need jobs and income.

Second, assist SMEs, Small and Medium Enterprises. Although the Central Government has granted Productive Presidential Assistance of Rp2.4 million, allocate a budget if you have it and grant it to market merchants, street vendors, because they are affected. Or if your regions have a tourism sector, this is the most affected. Grant (financial aids) to the sector.

Every project, every program must require local products usage. Do not buy imported products for a government project. What for? To create demands, so there is consumption. If there are demands and consumption increase, production at factories and in industries will increase as well, so no employee will be laid off.

Finally, I order you to provide a good service for export and investment. Do push for factories and SMEs to export (their products). Grant them aids. If there is an investment in your regency, please serve it as best you can. The Investment Coordinating Board now has a very quick online single submission service, but after that, there is further process in the province, regency, city, and the service in the regions must also be quick. There are two keys to our economy, investment (and) export because the State Budget is limited. The State Budget will not increase by over five percent. The State Budget increases only slightly, very limited. Economic growth can be boosted by investment. Therefore, because the Law, Government Regulation, and Presidential Regulation on Job Creation have been legislated, it will be easy, very easy for entrepreneurs to open investments, open job vacancies. Provide them the best service.

That concludes my speech on this auspicious occasion and by saying bismillahirrahmanirrahim, I hereby inaugurate the 5th National Deliberation of the Indonesian Regency Government Association.

I thank you.

Wassalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh. (DH/MEP)

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