Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia needs solid public health and economic policies to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, World Bank country director for Indonesia and Timor Leste, Satu Kahkonen, said.

"Solid public health and economic policies will be the key to recovery efforts," she stated in the Indonesia Economy Prospects report (December 2020 edition), which was released in Jakarta on Thursday.

The government must create policies for improving public health and building a solid economy because Indonesia is experiencing a recession, with economic growth contracting 5.32 percent in the second quarter and 3.49 percent in the third quarter, Kahkonen said.

A recession does not mean there is no hope for the future, she emphasized adding, steps need to be taken to speed up recovery.

"Indonesia is experiencing a recession, but that does not mean there is no hope for the future. The challenge of recovery is likely to be long and full of challenges,” she explained.

Public health will be crucial for a fast and safe recovery so Indonesia's decision to reopen its economy must also involve steps to maintain public health, she noted.

Related news: Vaccine, health protocol prerequisite for economic recovery: BI

She said that the ability to carry out tests and contact tracing is the main thing that is important in the midst of a pandemic along with the government's efforts to encourage people to get vaccinated.

"Once the vaccine has been introduced, it will help," she remarked.

Not only that, the Indonesian government also needs to ensure that domestic needs are met properly because there are several sectors that are currently still witnessing a contraction, she pointed out.

According to Kahkonen, the sectors that are currently facing a contraction are also contributing to the rising unemployment, which is currently higher than before the pandemic struck.

In addition, there are many small and medium scale companies that are still facing uncertainty about the future, so the Indonesian government must implement well-measured efforts to help them, she observed.

"To be able to restore this condition at the household level and small-scale enterprises, we need to carry out measured efforts that are well supported," she added.

She suggested that the Indonesian government continue to prepare a good strategy to meet its fiscal and economic goals even though the fiscal response strategy has been implemented.

The Indonesian government's challenge will be to develop an exit strategy to support the recovery, she noted.

“Therefore, we also need to prioritize fiscal and taxation plans so as to reduce financing," she said. (INE)

Related news: Public health efforts, economic recovery hinge on budget utilization

Related news: Economic recovery challenging for government in Q4-2020 and 2021

Translator: Astrid Habibah, Azis Kurmala
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
Copyright © ANTARA 2020