It shows that the Village Fund empowers the villages.
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Villages have started to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as reflected by the shifting focus of Village Fund utilization, Villages, Development of Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration (PDTT) Minister Abdul Halim Iskandar said.

"It can be seen from the shift in the use of the Village Fund, namely (from COVID-19 handling) to village development," he added at a press conference here on Thursday.

He said that the allocation of the Village Fund for rural development has increased to 53 percent, or Rp36 trillion (US$2.39 billion), in 2023. It was just Rp23 trillion (US$1.53 billion), or up 34 percent from the previous year, in 2022.

"The Village Fund truly has provided huge benefits for village development," the minister remarked.

Although President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has announced the revocation of the pandemic status of COVID-19, Iskandar said that some of the Village Fund would still be allocated for COVID-19 handling considering that the virus is still being transmitted in the community.

"However, the figure is currently smaller compared to the previous allocation when COVID-19 was still declared a pandemic," he continued.

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The allocation of the Village Fund used to implement the ‘Protecting Village from COVID-19’ program declined this year to Rp12 trillion (US$796.98 million), or 17 percent, from Rp29 trillion (US$1.93 billion), or 43 percent, in 2022.

Furthermore, the minister said that Village Funds can also be used to provide training and venture capital as well as encourage product and market development to increase the income of the community, reduce poverty rates, and bolster local economic growth.

"It shows that the Village Fund empowers the villages," he emphasized.

He added that the utilization of the Village Fund so far has been in accordance with the President’s directives, thus it has been helping villagers to improve their welfare and the quality of their human resources.

According to the Village Law, Village Funds are funds transferred from the state budget to the regional budget to finance village administration, empowerment, and development as well as to provide financial assistance to village institutions, such as village-owned enterprises (BUMDes).

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Translator: Zubi Mahrofi, Uyu Liman
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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