Jakarta (ANTARA) - Minister of Finance, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, on Tuesday stated that the government is in the final stages of preparing policies to handle COVID-19 as a national disaster.

"Together with ministries and other institutions, as well as the Financial Services Authority, (we) are looking at the consequences of the national disaster status, and the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic as a national disaster," she said from her office in Jakarta.

The minister made the statement through a video conference after attending a Plenary Cabinet Session, led by President Joko Widodo from the Bogor Presidential Palace.

On Monday, April 13, 2020, President Joko Widodo had issued Presidential Decree Number 12 of 2020 on the Determination of Non-Natural Disasters of the 2019 Virus Disease (COVID-19) Spread as a National Disaster.

In addition to declaring COVID-19 a national disaster, the presidential decree also covered handling of COVID-19 as a national disaster, a task that is being led by head of the COVID-19 Task Force and the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), Doni Monardo.

Point number three of the Presidential Decree states: "Governors, district heads, and mayors, as Chair of the Task Force for the Acceleration of Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) handling in the regions, must pay attention to the policies of the Central Government while setting policies in their respective regions."

With regard to the national disaster status, Article 62, Paragraph (1) of Regulation Number 24 of 2007 concerning Disaster Management states: "During an emergency response, BNPB uses ready-to-use funds as referred to in Article 6, letter (f) and Paragraph (2). The ready-to-use funds, as referred to in Paragraph (1), shall be provided by the Government in the budget of the National Disaster Management Agency".

"Why state finance? Because all the pressures in the health, social, and business (sectors), will all eventually lead to state finance. How do we take steps for COVID-19 in the field of health, both central and regional, help the community with social assistance, help the business world that is experiencing tremendous pressure? It would all depend on the state budget or state finance," she explained.

President Jokowi had earlier issued Presidential Instruction (Inpres) No. 4 of 2020, concerning Refocusing of Activities, Budget Reallocation and Procurement of Goods and Services, on March 20, 2020 and Presidential Regulation No. 54 of 2020, concerning Changes in Posture and Details of 2020 Revenue and Expenditure Budget, so ministries and local governments could re-organize their budgets.

Mulyani also spoke about Indonesia’s involvement in international COVID-19 efforts.

"Foreign aid from all over the world is helping (nations support) one another in kind, and Indonesia is also helping as it is one of the largest PPE producers in the world," Indrawati said.

Furthermore, many countries have contracts with PPE companies in Indonesia.

“We are trying to fulfill the contracts with a particular country without sacrificing our domestic PPE needs. All countries are mutually cooperating, but indeed, the tension is very high because many countries do need PPEs. When they order protective gear from Indonesia directly, they hope they will be sent to their country immediately," she explained.

She further said that Indonesia has also spoken to the governments of South Korea and Japan on meeting the needs of other countries, in the spirit of global cooperation, to address the challenges emerging out of the COVID-19 crisis.

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Translator: Desca Lidya Natalia/Aria Cindy
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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