Press Statement of President of the Republic of Indonesia On Government Policies In Dealing with the COVID-19 Pandemic, 24 March 2020 at the Merdeka Palace, Jakarta
Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
Peace and prosperity be upon us all,
Greetings of Virtue.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
My Fellow Countrymen,
The spread of COVID-19 has significantly slowed down global economy, including our country Indonesia. 186 countries have been exposed to the coronavirus. The Government continues to leave no stone unturned to address this matter, to maintain the people’s purchasing power, to reduce the risk of layoffs, as well as to maintain economic productivity and community productivity throughout the country.
On this occasion, I will only focus on the direct assistance policies provided by the Government in a bid to maintain the people’s purchasing power.
First, I have instructed all ministers, governors, regents, and mayors to eliminate non-priority expenditure plans in the State Budget or regional budgets. We must eliminate budget posts for unnecessary business travels, meetings, and other expenditures that do not bring benefits for the people.
Second, ministries and institutions at the Central Government level, as well as at regional government level must re-focus their activities and re-allocate budgets to speed up the handling of COVID-19, both related to health and economic issues. The legal basis is clear. On Friday 20 March 2020, I signed Presidential Instruction Number 4 of 2020. In addition to ordering the budget refocusing and reallocation, this Presidential Instruction also orders the acceleration of the procurement of goods and services to support the acceleration of the handling COVID-19. Once again, the instruction is not only for handling public health, but also for handling the economic impact of the community.
Third, I have ordered ministries and institutions as well as provincial, regencies, and municipalities governments that in addition to addressing public health issues, we must also ensure availability of staple food and maintain the people’s purchasing power, especially the underprivileged people. We have to help workers, daily laborers, farmers, fishermen, and micro and small business players to maintain their purchasing power, to continue carrying out their activities and be productive.
Fourth, I have ordered that the amount of cash for labor-intensive program – once again the amount of cash for labor-intensive program – must be increased but in accordance with the health protocol to prevent the spread of the COVID-19, i.e. maintaining safe distance at work places. The cash for labor-intensive program at several ministries such as Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing, Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, must be immediately executed. The Village Funds and local government programs must also prioritize labor-intensive methods. This will help the communities, farmers, farm laborers, and fishermen in villages throughout the country. Once again, in accordance with the health protocol, namely to maintain a safe distance at workplaces.
Fifth, for the Staple Food Card beneficiaries, the Government provides an additional Rp50,000 for one recipient family; thus they will receive Rp200,000, which will be given for six months. The allocated budget is Rp4.56 trillion.
Sixth, the Government will accelerate the implementation of the Pre-Employment Card to assist laborers affected by layoffs, daily workers who lose their income or micro entrepreneurs who lose their markets and turnover in order to improve the skills and quality of their human capital. The budget allocation provided in the Pre-Employment Card is Rp10 trillion so that every beneficiary of the cards will receive an incentive fee of Rp1 million per month for 3 to 4 months.
Seventh, to support the purchasing power of laborers in the manufacturing industry, the Government will exempt the collection of tax income PPh 21 to provide additional income to them. The budget allocation provided is Rp8.6 trillion.
Eighth, to the SMEs, the Financial Services Authority (OJK) will provide credit relaxation for loans below Rp10 billion for business purposes, both loans provided by banks and by non-bank financial industry. As long as it is used for business, interest will be reduced and repayments will be delayed for up to one year. Therefore, to online motorcycle taxi drivers, to taxi drivers who are have vehicle loans, fishermen who are have boat loans, do not need to worry. Interest payments and installments are given a leeway of one year. And banks and the non-bank financial industry are prohibited from demanding installments, let alone using debt collectors. This action is prohibited and I order the Indonesian National Police to take note of it.
Ninth, the Government will provide two stimuli for low-income people who have loans for subsidized housing ownership, namely subsidies for margin interest for ten years. If the interest is above five percent, the margin in interest will be paid by the Government. The Government also provides subsidies for down payment for those who will apply for subsidized housing loans. The budget prepared is Rp1.5 trillion.
I appeal to all levels of the Government, both at central and regional levels, to the urban village and rural village level, to always be responsive to the health and economic conditions of the communities. We must work hard. We must remain united. And we must work together to surmount this challenge.
Last, I would like to express my appreciation for the community campaign in their effort to disseminate the practice of physical distancing and to keep reminding us all to exercise self-discipline. Only with strong discipline can we prevent the spread of COVID-19. We must believe that we are a big nation. We are a fighting nation, a tough nation, God willing, we can and we will be able to go through the current global challenges.
I thank you.
Wassalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.
Translated by: Galuh Wicaksono H.
Reviewed by: Muhammad Ersan Pamungkas