On Wednesday afternoon, the President invited a number of small and micro traders to the Bogor Presidential Palace, West Java, and directly handed over the working capital assistance to them. The President also motivated the traders, urging them to not be discouraged in face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I think this (the working capital assistance) will be used for additional working capital, and this is indeed what we want to share with the 12 million small traders throughout the country, and you are very lucky as you get the assistance first," President Joko Widodo said in his speech, which was broadcast virtually.
Provision of working capital assistance was carried out under health protocols, such as the use of masks and observance of physical distancing.
Based on data received by the President, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of small and micro traders have seen a drastic fall in income or turnover, by up to 50 percent.
"Maybe one day (earlier traders) could sell (products worth) Rp500 thousand or Rp800 thousand, now (their sale is) only Rp200 thousand. Am I right? That is indeed the condition that we are experiencing …," the President said while addressing the small and micro traders.
"All people have experienced the same thing (fall in trade or income) because of the coronavirus pandemic. As many as 215 other countries have experienced a similar thing (economic slowdown). I ask all of us not to be discouraged. Everyone must continue to work hard so that later, when conditions are normal, everything will run better," Jokowi added.
Jokowi spoke directly to the street vendors, home-scale traders, and hawkers who attended the meeting, and asked them about their financial condition.
The Head of State said that he knew the current condition of small and micro traders firsthand. Therefore, he said, he had directly invited small and micro traders to the Bogor Presidential Palace to be able to discuss their issues. He asked the small and micro traders to not be discouraged and try hard to restore their business.
"To go back to a normal state, we still need time. Once again we all have to keep working hard so that our business continues to run well," the President stated.
He said he hoped the working capital assistance would be utilized optimally, so that small and micro traders can improve their business performance once the impact of the pandemic starts to subside.
On Monday (July 13, 2020) at the Presidential Palace complex, Jakarta, the President had also provided working capital assistance to micro and small business entrepreneurs.
The rescue of small and micro entrepreneurs has indeed become one of President Jokowi's focuses amid the COVID-19 pandemic. At a limited meeting in June, 2020, he had asked his staff to immediately realize the stimulus in the economic field so that it could immediately benefit small businesses entrepreneurs.
The government is preparing a fund of Rp695.2 trillion to handle the new coronavirus pandemic and its impact, according to the National Economic Recovery (PEN) program.
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