Jakarta (ANTARA) - Deputy Minister of Finance Suahasil Nazara on Saturday explained the reasons that prompted the government to enforce the public activity restrictions (PPKM) to contain COVID-19 instead of lockdowns.

"So, there was indeed a debate, but the essence of both is restrictions on economic activities," said Nazara at an online discussion.

He said the main reason for implementing the PPKM is that Indonesia has groups of people at different economic levels. For example, there are low-income groups and also high-income groups living in urban and rural areas, he added.

Based on the economic behavior of each community group, it can be seen that people with savings of less than Rp1 million have started withdrawing money for their daily needs, Nazara noted.

Meanwhile, for people with savings above Rp10 million, the value of savings has actually increased in the midst of the pandemic, he said.

Given the different economic conditions of the people, the government has prepared various aids for people in need, especially for people living below the poverty line, he said.

But, people with better incomes also need help as the COVID-19 pandemic has affected almost all levels of society, he added.

Therefore, the government has prepared the Family Hope Program (PKH) for 10 million families and Basic Food Cards program for 18.8 million families, Nazara noted.

In addition, the government is providing Cash Social Assistance (BST) to 10 million families and also Direct Village Fund Cash Assistance to the rural poor, he said.

The government has also continued to pursue a set of policies to help people, according to their respective needs, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he stressed.

"Our country is not a small country. There are 270 million people with 34 provinces that have different characteristics. We need to take into account these different conditions. Every regional government needs to pay close attention to this condition," concluded Nazara.

Related news: Papua to implement activity restrictions: task force head
Related news: Take anticipatory steps against COVID-19, Karnavian tells local govts

Translator: Agatha Olivia Victoria/Satyagr
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
Copyright © ANTARA 2021