Finance Minister stresses continued vigilance in COVID-19 handling

Finance Minister stresses continued vigilance in COVID-19 handling

Minister of Finance, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, at an online discussion in Jakarta on Monday (November 30, 2020). (ANTARA / AstridFaidlatulHabibah)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati has emphasized that Indonesia must continue to be careful in dealing with COVID-19, which is currently experiencing a significant spurt, as it will have a huge impact on the economy.

"Indonesia continues to be careful so that we can still handle COVID-19 because it has tremendous social, economic, and financial impact," Sri Mulyani said during an online discussion in Jakarta on Monday.

Sri Mulyani said that currently there are more than 60 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with the death toll recorded at 1.42 million. There has been a massive increase in infections in the US, Europe, Japan, and Korea, she added.

As of November 29, 2020, Indonesia has registered 534 thousand cases and 16,815 deaths, with more than 5,000 people per day testing positive for the virus in the past week.   

Sri Mulyani emphasized that the 3T steps, namely tracing, tracking, and treatment, as well as the implementation of 3Ms, namely wearing masks, washing hands, and maintaining distancing must be continued in order to reduce positive cases.

"The compliance of all business actors and the community is important for all of us to protect [people from the virus]. We are taking many steps, but society also determines whether we succeed or not," Sri Mulyani said.

She said that the high number of COVID-19 cases have affected the national economy, with growth contracting by 5.34 percent in the second quarter, though there have been improvements in the third quarter.

However, Sri Mulyani said, the reports of an improvement in the third quarter are still very early, so the figure would be easily affected by an increase in COVID-19 cases.

"In the third quarter, we have seen economic recovery, but this is still very early. The economy is still growing negatively, although it is much lower than in the second quarter, ” Sri Mulyani explained.

Therefore, the government will continue to maintain the momentum for improvement through the use of the state budget, which is an important instrument in managing the economy, especially when facing a pandemic, she added.

State spending this year has reached Rp2,739.2 trillion, with Rp695.2 trillion allocated for the National Economic Recovery Program (PEN) covering the health sector (Rp97.26 trillion) and social protection (Rp234.33 trillion).

A total of Rp65.97 trillion has been set aside as support for ministry / institutions and local governments, Rp114.81 trillion for MSME encouragement, Rp62.22 trillion for corporate financing, and Rp120.6 trillion for business incentives.

“It's not enough if you don't participate in preventing COVID-19 from spreading. Health protocol discipline is a must for all, indiscriminately. We all have to participate in trying to overcome the spread of COVID-19," Sri Mulyani said. (INE)

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