Remarks of President of the Republic of Indonesia on a Limited Meeting on Report of COVID-19 Handling and National Economic Recovery Working Committee Monday, 24 August 2020 at the Merdeka Palace, Jakarta
Date 24 Agustus 2020
Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
May peace be upon us all.
Distinguished Vice President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Chairman and Members of the COVID-19 Handling and National Economic Recovery Working Committee.
Before hearing report from the COVID-19 Handling and National Economic Recovery Working Committee, I would like to emphasize a few points.
First, the Working Committee, in this case Minister of Home Affairs, should remind the regional task force, the Governors, the Regents, the Mayors to be serious and work hard in handling COVID-19, especially in the strategy of balancing the health and the economy sectors.
As we are all aware, there has been a significant spike in coronavirus cases in countries, especially in Europe (Spain, France, Germany); also in Asia (India, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Iran, Nepal and South Korea). This is necessary. We should follow the development of the coronavirus cases in other countries so that we do not lose control of the management, particularly by the regional governments and the Central Government.
Second, during the previous limited meeting we talked about community discipline which is the key to controlling COVID-19. I notice that the campaign to wear a face mask has not been widely promoted, both in the media and on the ground, including by distributing free masks. I need to remind once again that public discipline is the key to curb virus transmission before the vaccine is available. We should accelerate the campaign to wear a face mask since it can strengthen the confidence of the communities, the business world and the market regarding the Government’s seriousness in handling the pandemic.
I have read several articles, foreign articles, writing that the Government’s way of communication is unclear and not firm that lead to misinformation in the public. Therefore, I order that every statement related to COVID-19 must be coordinated first with Spokesperson of the COVID-19 Task Force Wiku Adisasmito to avoid any misinformation and misunderstanding in the media.
In my opinion, our track is already correct, including the effort to find a vaccine while other countries have not. I have received a report from Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of State-Owned Enterprises that Indonesia has sealed a commitment to get 290 million doses of vaccine until 2021. That is a very large number given that other countries may only get one or two million doses, while we have already secured of 290 million doses, both from domestic pharmacy companies and abroad. I think this is very good news. We hope that by improving good communication, we can really give confidence in the business sector.
So, the third issue is about the procurement of vaccines, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of SOEs please repeat it again. How many will we get until the end of 2020? 20 million vaccines?
Minister of Foreign Affairs (Retno P. Marsudi)
President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
20-30 million doses until the end of this year, then until the end of 2021 approximately 290 million doses. Once again, this is a very large amount. Later if we can produce more vaccine from domestic companies, we can export it to other countries as no other country in ASEAN has started to produce the vaccine.
The last one is regarding economic recovery. Once again, for the cash transfer scheme, I order to speed up the direct assistance to the communities. Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture whose is responsible for the assistances such as Village Direct Cash Assistance, Cash Social Assistance, and other assistances from state institutions, should speed up their work. All assistances should really be assisted in its distribution because public data, including the bank account number, becomes the biggest obstacle. We hope that in mid-August to mid-September, everything will be completed so that it can leverage our economic growth.
I have also orderd Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs to boost our economic growth in the third quarter by increasing investment other than domestic consumption. Do not let investment drop to more than minus 5 percent. How much our investment drop in the last quarter? It is minus 8. We should boost our investment. Do not let it drop to more than minus 5. Last night I talked with Head of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) Bahlil Lahadalia and he agreed that the investment could reach Rp213 trillion. That figure must be realized so that we can boost our economic growth. That is the key because it is very hard to increase exports in such condition, moreover the domestic consumption and the purchasing power have also dropped. For the record, tax revenue in July started to stagnate again. It shows that the purchasing power of the public is stagnating due to social restrictions which cause restaurants to be partially opened, the declining of tourist and low hotel occupancy. I think it is alright; however, there must be other steps we can do, namely by boosting investment so that in the third quarter our economic growth can be leveraged. I think the key is only on investment.
And that concludes my remarks.
I thank you.
Translated by Estu Widyamurti
Reviewed by M. Ersan Pamungkas