Conquering pandemic key to economic recovery: ministry

Conquering pandemic key to economic recovery: ministry

Special Staff to the Minister of Finance, Yustinus Prastowo, at an online discussion in Jakarta on Wednesday (October 7, 2020). (Rabu ANTARA/Aji Cakti)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Conquering the COVID-19 pandemic is the main prerequisite for spurring national economic recovery, according to the Ministry of Finance..

“Still, the health issue of how we conquer the COVID-19 pandemic is the main prerequisite for economic recovery, it cannot be reversed,” Special Staff to the Minister of Finance, Yustinus Prastowo, said during an online discussion in Jakarta on Wednesday.

According to Yustinus, it would be impossible to open up the economy if health issues are not addressed. Therefore, all parties should immediately consolidate and focus on health so that the handling of the pandemic is more effective, he advised.

Speaking about the economic recession, he said: “In principle, the government does not want to focus on recession, but rather on the government’s policy response to this condition.”

Recession has become a hot topic in recent times due to the economic uncertainty created by the pandemic, he noted.

Yustinus Prastowo said the government has shared several forecasts made by international economic institutions.

Globally, there has been a decline in the outlook for global economic growth, he pointed out. Some countries have even entered technical recession, he said.

Earlier, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) had emphasized that the main focus of the government currently is dealing with public health problems arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, and then economic recovery.

President Jokowi stressed that if public health conditions improve, economic conditions would improve accordingly.

Handling public health, he said, is the key to recovering from the crisis situation emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Accelerating efforts to recover the domestic economy would depend heavily on the results of the implementation of policies for handling the COVID-19 pandemic, he added.

As of September this year, the government has disbursed Rp304.6 trillion of its Rp695.2-trillion budget for COVID-19 handling and the economic recovery program, according to the National Economic Recovery and Transformation Task Force (Satgas PEN).

“Until the end of September, we have succeeded in disbursing around Rp304.6 trillion from a total of Rp695.2 trillion, or 43.8 percent (of the budget),” head of the PEN task force, Budi Gunadi Sadikin, informed.

The total funds of Rp695.2 trillion have been distributed across six major sectors — Rp87.55 trillion has been disbursed for health, Rp203.9 trillion for social protection, Rp120.61 trillion for business incentives, Rp123.46 trillion for the MSME sector, Rp53.57 trillion for corporate financing, with support from ministries / agencies as well as local governments amounting to Rp106.11 trillion.

“Since the task force was formed, Rp137.89 trillion has been disbursed and per week, (under) both social protection and the MSME category, as well as sectoral ministries and local governments,” Sadikin informed.

In the social protection sector, the program with the largest budget absorption has been the Family Hope Program (PKH), with a budget of Rp36.3 trillion allocated for 10 million beneficiaries, or the poorest 40 million people in Indonesia, he stated.

A total of Rp31.9 trillion has been distributed under the basic food card program to 19.4 million beneficiary families, or 80 million Indonesian people on the lowest economic rung, including Family Hope Program recipients, he added. (INE)

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