Jakarta (ANTARA) - An official of the Finance Ministry confirmed that Rp6.9 trillion (US$483 million) was readied for distribution to eligible residents, included under the cooking oil cash assistance programme, in April, May, and June.

"The budget requirement will be Rp6.15 trillion (US$430.5 million) for beneficiary recipient families and Rp0.75 trillion (US$52.5 million) for street hawkers, so the budget totaled Rp6.9 trillion," the ministry's Fiscal Policy Agency Head, Febrio Kacaribu, stated during the Indonesia Macro-economic Updates 2022 event here on Monday.

Kacaribu remarked that the two recipient groups would comprise 20.5 million beneficiary recipient families covered under the Family Hope Programme (PKH) and 2.5 million food street hawkers.

The agency head remarked that each recipient will receive Rp100 thousand (US$7) cooking oil cash assistance each month that will be disbursed during a one-time transfer in April. Hence, recipients will receive Rp300 thousand (US$21) to fulfil their needs during the Ramadan fasting period.

"We will work hard to ensure that the benefit could be disbursed in April. Furthermore, households (need this benefit) to ensure they could pass the Ramadan fasting period," Kacaribu remarked.

He noted that the 20.5 million beneficiary recipient families would receive their benefits through various channels that include postal cash mail and state-owned bank transfer.

Military and police officers will assist in the distribution of cash benefit to some 2.5 million food street hawkers eligible for the benefits, the agency head added.

Related news: Police chief, minister discuss expediting cooking oil supply, price

Meanwhile, economist Chatib Basri noted that the government's decision to disburse cooking oil cash benefits is appropriate, as the benefit would be received directly by beneficiary recipients.

He highlighted that the highest retail price earlier pegged by the government as a form of subsidy must be replaced since the subsidy did not target the group that needed the assistance the most.

"The price control policy does not work. If the price is pegged lower than the production cost, then the product will disappear. That is why cooking oil products disappeared when the government designated the highest retail prices," Basri remarked.

Related news: National Police Chief urges cooking oil company to boost production

Translator: Astrid FH, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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