Chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), Arsjad Rasjid, has said he expects the wheels of the economy to continue to turn despite the extension of emergency public activity restrictions (PPKM).
Though the policy, which has been extended until July 25, 2021, has had a severe impact on them, entrepreneurs understand the importance of handling the health sector as a necessity to control the pandemic, he added. But, the wheels of the economy cannot be allowed to stop, he continued.
"Health is very important although on the other hand, the wheels of the economy must also run. So, (the government must ensure) there is a balance between health and the economy," he said at an online press conference originating from Jakarta on Wednesday.
Arsjad said the business community fully supports the steps taken by the government for handling the pandemic.
However, he stressed the importance of keeping the wheels of the economy running for the welfare of workers.
"It is very important for the economy to continue, because if it does not work, how will the lives of our brothers and sisters, formal and informal workers (be supported?). Not all of our brothers and sisters have savings accounts," he remarked.
For this reason, entrepreneurs have asked the government to allow manufacturing companies in the critical and essential sectors as well as supporting industries and export-oriented industries to continue to operate, with attendance capped at 100 percent for operational employees and 25 percent for operational support employees, Arsjad said.
The manufacturing companies, on their part, can implement strict health protocols and continue to accelerate vaccinations for all workers, he added.
"In addition to critical and essential sectors, non-essential and critical (manufacturing industries) must also be given the opportunity to operate, maybe not (at) 100 percent, but 50 percent (capacity)," he said.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Tuesday evening announced the extension of emergency mobility restrictions (PPKM) until July 25, 2021, saying they will be gradually relaxed from July 26, depending on the trend in coronavirus infections.
"If the trend of cases continues to decline, then on July 26, 2021, the government will gradually lift restrictions," said Widodo in a video statement released on the Presidential Secretariat's YouTube channel.
The government had earlier announced emergency mobility restrictions in provinces across Java and Bali, as well as 15 districts/cities outside the islands, from July 3 to July 20, 2021.
"The implementation of the emergency PPKM, which began on July 3, was an unavoidable policy that needed to be taken by the government, despite it being a tough decision to make," the President said. (Antaranews)