Jakarta (ANTARA) - The government's social protection programs are designed to reduce the poverty rate, currently above 10 percent, on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy stated.

"The government had succeeded in reducing the poverty rate to 9.22 percent in September 2019. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the current poverty rate has surged to over 10 percent," the minister noted in a statement here on Tuesday.

Data of the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) indicated that in March 2021, Indonesia's poverty rate had reached 10.14 percent, with the number of poor currently at around 27.54 million people, he pointed out.

The government is upbeat about the social protection programs being able to reduce poverty in the next period.

"This COVID-19 has had an impact on increasing poverty. However, the government has provided various social safety net programs to protect people from becoming poor," he remarked.

Effendy reminded that the government's various programs provided during the COVID-19 pandemic should be evaluated, especially concerning the expected contribution to reduce poverty.

In the meantime, the Indonesian government is preparing to increase the social protection budget under the national economic recovery (PEN) program by Rp33.98 trillion to Rp187.84 trillion, from Rp153.86 trillion.

The increase in the social protection budget is the result of the expansion and extension of social protection programs in response to the enforcement of public activity restrictions (PPKM) from July 3, 2021, head of the Fiscal Policy Board at the Finance Ministry, Febrio Kacaribu, noted in a written statement on Monday. Related news: Number of poor dip to 27.54 mln in March: BPS
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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Fardah
Editor: Suharto
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