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Wednesday, 21 July 2021 12:17

President calls for prompt disbursal of social aid

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President calls for prompt disbursal of social aid


Indonesian President Joko Widodo has directed ministers to promptly disburse social assistance to people who have been affected the most by the enforcement of emergency public activity restrictions (PPKM).

"I have instructed the relevant ministers to disburse the social assistance to the people entitled to it soon," the President said at a press conference on the enforcement of the emergency PPKM, streamed via the Presidential Secretariat's Youtube channel on Tuesday.

Since the enforcement of the emergency PPKM in Java and Bali from July 3, 2021, the number of COVID-19 cases and the bed occupancy rate at hospitals have declined, he noted.

If the trend in COVID-19 cases continues to decline, the government will gradually ease the emergency PPKM from July 26, 2021, he said.

To help alleviate the financial burden on the affected people, the government has raised the budget for social protection by Rp55.21 trillion, including for social cash assistance (BST), village cash assistance (BLT), family hope program (PKH) assistance, basic necessity assistance, internet quota assistance, and electricity subsidies, the President informed.

The government will also provide incentives worth Rp1.2 million to an estimated 1 million micro informal businesses, he said.

At an online press conference in Jakarta last Saturday, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, said President Widodo has directed Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati and Social Affairs Minister Tri Rismaharini to realize the additional social assistance soon.

Pandjaitan, who is also coordinator for the emergency PPKM, said the aid will comprise the distribution of 10 kilograms of rice to 18.9 million beneficiary families and cash assistance to 10 million beneficiary families.

"(The government) will later provide additional aid in the form of basic necessities to 18.9 million beneficiary families," he added.

The government will also increase the budget funds for 5.9 million beneficiary families at the request of regional governments, allocate Rp10 trillion for the pre-employment card program, and extend electricity subsidies for households consuming 450-900 volt-ampere (VA) of power by another three months until December, 2021, Pandjaitan informed.

"(We) will also extend the internet quota subsidy for students, university students, teachers, and lecturers and subsidy for base electricity tariffs by another six months until December 2021," he said.

The government will also raise the budget allocation for the health sector to Rp13.21 trillion to cover the medical treatment of COVID-19 patients, provision of incentives to vaccinators, construction of field hospitals, purchase of oxygen, and distribution of 2 million packages of free COVID-19 drugs, among other things. (Antaranews)

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