Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy will help MSMEs (micro, small, medium-scale enterprises) gain access to five assistance schemes prepared by the government for economic protection and recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ministry has collected data on people working in the tourism and creative economy sector who have been affected by COVID-19.

About 213 thousand workers in the tourism and creative economy sector have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak in 34 provinces, Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Wishnutama Kusubandio, said in a statement here on Thursday.

"(Some) among them are (employed with) SMEs involved in tourism and creative economy," Wishnutama added.

The assistance to be channeled to them will be coordinated with concerned institutions and ministries, he remarked.

With the Ministry of Social Affairs, for instance, the synergy and coordination will include distribution of social assistance, such as food packages, cash assistance, and pre-employment cards, he explained. With the Ministry of Finance, it will involve tax incentives and credit restructuring, he added.

The ministry would also continue to develop an independent program to empower MSME entrepreneurs in the tourism and creative economy sector.

The government also plans to increase online training for up-skilling and re-skilling tourism and creative economy actors, including MSMEs.

"Through these programs, it is hoped that the tourism community and the creative economy will be more competitive and ready to rise together when this pandemic passes," Wishnutama said.

President Joko Widodo, during a limited meeting held via teleconference from the Merdeka Palace here on Wednesday (April 29, 2020), said the government has prepared five economic protection and recovery schemes for the micro, small, and medium business sector (MSMEs).

The schemes also include a special program for ultra-micro businesses to help them survive in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first scheme is for small and medium business actors who have been categorized as poor and vulnerable to COVID-19. They would be included in the list of recipients of social assistance from the government.

The second scheme involves taxation incentives that apply to SMEs with a turnover of under Rp 4.8 billion per year, an income tax cut from 0.5 percent to zero percent for six months (April to September, 2020).

The third scheme involves the relaxation and restructuring of MSME loans. The scheme covers delays in installments and interest subsidies for recipients of low interest credit schemes, such as KUR, UMi, Mekaar PNM, and LPDB.

Under the fourth scheme, the government will expand financing for MSMEs, in the form of stimulus for working capital assistance. Until now, there are 41 million MSME actors who are connected with financial institutions and banks. However, there are still 23 million MSME actors who have never received funding from financial institutions or the banking system.

Under the fifth scheme, the government, through ministries, state-owned institutions, and local governments, will act as a buffer in the MSME ecosystem, primarily at the stage of business recovery and consolidation post the COVID-19 pandemic.

Related news: COVID-19 deals crushing blow to MSMEs
Related news: Ministry proposes soft loans for SMEs affected by COVID-19 pandemic

Translator: Hanni Sofia, Fardah
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
Copyright © ANTARA 2020