Policies and targets will need to be readjusted in the current situation, especially those related to the manufacturing sector, which is experiencing immense pressure.
“The new normal would need us to recalculate, well, the targets that were previously planned," Minister of Industry, Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita, said in a statement released on Thursday in Jakarta.
According to the minister, the new normal in the manufacturing industry can affect aspects ranging from productivity to competitiveness. One of the targets that will be recalibrated involves imports. An import reduction of up to 35 percent was initially projected to be achieved by the end of 2021.
"We have adjusted the target (which is now) to be achieved by the end of 2022," Kartasasmita noted.
Currently, various new arrangements have been made in industrial activities. For instance, before the COVID-19 pandemic, operating industries could optimize all of their workers.
But, with the adoption of health protocols, such as physical distancing, the industry has made adjustments to its employee strength by up to 50 percent.
"Maybe the reduction is not too significant for industries that have applied Industry 4.0 principles. But, it will be felt more by industries that involve a lot of Human Resources (HR), or labor-intensive industries. This must be studied more deeply,” the minister stated.
He also said that some industries have experienced a slowdown or a decline in utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, those who still have permission to operate need to prioritize the application of health protocols, he added.
In an effort to adapt to the new normal, the Ministry of Industry will re-adjust industry operational policies, in line with the issuance of Minister of Health Decree Number HK.01.07 / MENKES / 328/2020 concerning COVID-19 Prevention and Control Guidelines in Office and Industrial Workplaces in Support of Business Sustainability in the Pandemic Situation.
"We will compile guidelines summarized from circular letters of the Minister of Industry that have been issued during the pandemic, and based on the latest decision from the Minister of Health," Kartasasmita said.
With the new normal conditions requiring several adjustments, the ministry has predicted the manufacturing industry's growth rate in the second quarter of 2020 is estimated to reach 2-2.7 percent.
The target can be met if, in the second quarter, positive COVID-19 cases decline and there is no second wave or aftershock. Additionally, the community needs to remain productive and safe from COVID-19 so it can resume economic activities.
However, as long as these basic requirements are not met, the growth of the industrial sector in the second quarter would be lower than in the first quarter of 2020.
"We do not know yet what it will be like, but when restrictions have begun to be reduced, of course, we will gradually be able to improve expectations of growth in the industrial sector," Kartasasmita said. (INE)
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