SOE Minister: Gov’t Focuses on Both Health, Economic Recovery
Date 11 Agustus 2020
The Government has announced it is stepping up efforts to tackle the pandemic by tackling both health and economy aspects simultaneously, Chief of the Working Committee for COVID-19 and National Economic Recovery (KPCPEN) Erick Thohir has said.
“What the Government is doing now is handling both health and economic aspects,” Erick said during a discussion at the office of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) in Jakarta, Monday (10/8).
According to Erick, the KPCPEN has three main programs to address the issues in the forms of the Healthy Indonesia program, the Working Indonesia program and the Growing Indonesia program.
The Healthy Indonesia Program covers a number of things, starting from the dissemination of public behavior change (to follow health protocols) by involving all stakeholders and the communities, accelerating the PCR, tracing and conducting quarantine tests nationwide, conducting continuous healing therapy, changing the red zone to yellow and green with a priority of eight provinces, preparing the community so as to be safe from coronavirus, particularly for regions that will take part in the 2020 regional elections, carefully planning a collaborative program for the manufacturing and distribution of vaccine and anti-body and immune-forming drugs in the next one year, using one data for COVID-19 and Health Management, maximizing the role of primary health care, enabling specialization of hospitals for COVID-19 services in each region, providing high quality and affordable services with a family approach; Integrated non-communicable disease control, accelerating production of domestic medical devices and medicine, transforming the health system and high quality of the Social Security Agency for Health (BPJS).
In the meantime the Working Indonesia program includes providing productive MSME assistance, providing credit assistance & interest subsidy for MSMEs, providing salary subsidies through Social Security Agency for Labor Health (BPJSTK), distributing assistance for Pre-Work, providing additional social assistance, providing electricity subsidies for low-income groups and relaxation of electricity subscriptions, providing lending for informal businesses, implementing food labor-intensive programs by Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Fisheries, and Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing and implementing rural labor-intensive programs in the context of increasing food productivity, implementing irrigation Program, developing embung (rain-filled rice fields), roads, agriculture, and villages, as well as implementing labor absorption acceleration Program.
“In the Working Program program, we have productive UMKM assistance. We hope that in one or two weeks, as many as 12 million micro retails will be provided with assistance of Rp2.4 million with a total budget of approximately Rp28.8 trillion,”
The Minister also pointed out other credit assistance and interest subsidies for MSMEs that have been running but will be re-evaluated.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, Erick said, has also ordered that labor-intensive programs be intensified. Furthermore, Erick added that the President has decided that several national strategic programs in a number of ministries became labor intensive.
The Government, Erick continued, also has a number of strategies to encourage economic growth by increasing trade from the maritime sector.
“There are two countries whose economic growth and middle class continues to rise, namely Kuwait and India. We need to focus on their market, not only in Europe,” Erick said, while encouraging local entrepreneurs to fill the investment opportunity prepared by the Government.
The Government has provided Batang and Subang industrial areas which can be filled by local and foreign investors, he added.
In the meantime, the Growing Indonesia program involves encouraging maritime economy through the development of the fishing industry by placing fishermen as the main pillar: accelerating economy of natural resources; increasing revenue through excise on cigarettes, plastics, fuel, vehicles; and transformation of tax revenues.
“The Government as executors want to ensure that we accelerate, support, and synchronize programs not only in the committee but across ministries,” he added.
Erick went on to explain that apart from the Rp695 trillion budget stimulus that has been added, ministries, agencies and regional governments have their own budget which, if not productive and effective, can be relocated for handling COVID-19 and economic recovery.
He also said that the involvement of the Attorney, the Development Finance Comptroller (BPKP), and the National Police is pivotal to accelerate budget absorption.
On that occasion, Erick asked for public support to continue prioritizing health protocols because if health aspect does not recover, it will be difficult for the economy to be revived. (Communication Team of the Working Committee for COVID-19 Handling / EN)
Translated by: Estu Widyamurti
Reviewed by: M. Ersan Pamungkas