“We are happy that so far no one has traveled outside Indonesia, thus we are improving the quality of health, tourism, and other facilities in Indonesia,” he said during the 7th Singapore Dialogue on Sustainable World Resources (SDSWR), which was held online on Wednesday. The minister joined the dialogue from Jakarta.
The government is taking steps to ensure Indonesian people can spend their money domestically so the wheels of the economy can continue to rotate, Pandjaitan remarked.
Apart from encouraging quality improvement in all fields, the COVID-19 pandemic is also believed to have had a positive impact in terms of improving public discipline, he said.
The minister then cited the example of increasing compliance with the protocol on wearing masks, especially since sanctions have been imposed on violating the rule.
"We see that COVID-19 has had a positive impact, because this is the time for us to reform many things in this country. Foreigners do not realize what we are doing now, even domestic people are not aware that we are carrying out many reforms," he said.
Earlier, Pandjaitan had said that although the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been painful, it has pushed reforms in a number of fields in Indonesia, ranging from health to energy.
Reforms have been initiated due to pandemic conditions, he noted. For instance, Indonesia, which was earlier heavily dependent on imports, has now begun to encourage independence to be able to cater to its own domestic pharmaceutical needs, he pointed out.
"Even though COVID-19 has been very painful for everyone, this has also been a blessing for us because we can do a lot of reforms in this country," he had told investors and representatives from the Australian government in Jakarta last September.
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