“I asked the head of the Trade Industry Cooperatives Office to provide assistance to the tailors who were present today. We will provide materials to make masks, and most importantly, after that, the provincial government will buy them to be distributed to the public. Instead of us ordering outside the region, it's better to empower the women here," Gorontalo Governor Rusli Habibie said while allocating aid at his official residence to MSME players affected by COVID-19 on Tuesday.
Apart from providing cloth masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the government is also aiming to provide financial support during the pandemic, he added.
"Since the pandemic, I have donated salaries for COVID-19 handling to the regional treasury. If it is possible, the money can be used to pay for masks that are sewn by the MSME ladies," Habibie said.
Herlina Pakaya, one of the tailors in Gorontalo city, welcomed the plan.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she said she no longer earns as much income as before.
She said she used to get up to four orders , but since the pandemic hit, there have barely been any customers.
“There is nothing we can say other than thank you very much for the government's assistance. Actually, at the beginning of the pandemic, I also sewed masks and at that time, there were still many orders. But later on, there were less and less (customers), and even there is no more, maybe because there are so many masks being sold, so we are still having trouble," she explained.
During Tuesday's event, the governor also handed over stimulus assistance to MSMEs through the Gorontalo Amil Zakat National Agency.
At the event, 924 MSME players affected by COVID-19 received cash assistance of Rp 1.2 million (around US$84) each.
There are a total of 1,922 prospective MSMEs who will receive the assistance, and the disbursal of aid to them will be done in stages until December 2021, the governor said.
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