Jakarta (ANTARA) - Rural or village regions are still a buffer or the main support for the national economy, Minister of Villages, Development of Disadvantaged Regions, and Transmigration Abdul Halim Iskandar has said.

"Throughout pandemic, the villages continued to innovate, rise, and grow on the path toward village independence," Iskandar noted in a statement received here on Tuesday.

According to the minister, there are three priorities in the 2022 village fund budget.

First, the acceleration of the national economic recovery program (PEN) should follow the village's authority, he said.

One of the PEN program's targets is developing village-owned enterprises (BUMDes) and collective or joint BUMDes, as well as reducing poverty to realize prosperous villages, he added.

Poverty rates in villages are lower at only 0.60 percent compared to cities, where they stand at 7.88 percent, Iskandar said.

"It shows that villages are faster and more responsive to the COVID-19 pandemic compared to cities, and village funds distributed by the central government are quite effective," he highlighted at the Muhammadiyah pre-congress on 'Building Villages, Enhancing Local Economy.'

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The second priority of the village budget is that the 2022 village funds be used for implementing national priority programs based on village authority, including village data collection, resource potential mapping, and food security strengthening, he said.

One of the efforts to increase food security in villages is the farming village program that is focusing on sustainability to meet food needs and enhance residents' livelihoods, he added.

The third priority is the use of village funds for disaster mitigation, both for the handling of natural and non-natural disasters, based on each village's discretion, he said.

“So, if asked, the answer is that village funds can be used for anything as long as it is still related to increasing human resources (quality) and economic recovery," Iskandar explained.

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Translator: Zubi M, Kenzu T
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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