Government optimistic of reducing poverty rate

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government is confident of reducing the poverty rate in the country despite the pessimism expressed by the National Statistics Agency.

"Regardless of how difficult it may be, we will certainly be able to reduce it. If productivity is increased and prices are decreased, it will certainly happen. Just because something is difficult, does not mean that it cannot be achieved," Vice President Jusuf Kalla stated at a coordination meeting here on Wednesday.

If food prices are causing an increase in poverty rate, then the problem can be handled by boosting food production, Kalla affirmed.

"Indeed, if the price of rice is high and the other food prices also increase, it will certainly increase the poverty figures wherein the cost of living will be high, and the needs of the people will not be met. In view of this, one of the solutions is to stabilize the food prices," he explained.

The National Statistics Agency has recorded an increase of 11.22 percent in the number of the Indonesians living below the poverty line.

In March 2015, the number of people living below the poverty line was recorded at 28.59 million, or 11.22 percent of the population. The number increased by 0.86 million compared to the figures recorded in September 2014.

The agencys chief, Suryamin, emphasized that unless special efforts were undertaken, it would be difficult to reduce the poverty rate. It is similar to the situation in other ASEAN countries where reducing the poverty rate will become increasingly difficult when it reaches 11 percent.

He said the poverty rate in the country has now reached 11.22 percent, which is high.

Suryamin pointed out that most of the poor, totaling 17.94 million, live in villages, while the number of poor living in cities reaches 10.65 million.

In view of the situation, he has urged the government to continue to boost the economy in villages.

He affirmed that poverty in villages could be reduced by increasing the income of the people, including farmers.

"The economy in villages must be improved," he added.(*)