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Mar. 2 -  The Indonesian government will continue to step up the realization of state expenditure in order to boost economic growth in the second quarter of 2021, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto, has said.

“We hope there will be further (economic) recovery. We have expedited (the realization) of state expenditure, including through the social protection and economic recovery programs,” Hartarto said during an online discussion here on Tuesday.

The government has allocated a budget of Rp699.43 trillion (US$48.94 billion) under the national economic recovery program (PEN), he noted.

The budget for PEN would focus on five sectors. Of the total budget, Rp176.3 trillion (US$12.34 billion) has been allocated for the health sector, Rp157.41 trillion (US$11.01 billion) for social protection, Rp125.06 trillion (US$8.75 billion) for priority programs, Rp53.86 trillion (US$3.77 billion) for business incentive, and Rp186.81 trillion (US$13.07 billion) for support for micro, small, and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs) and corporate funding, he added.

"We are also encouraging people to buy domestic as well as MSME products," he stated.

Hartarto assured the government would balance efforts taken for economic recovery and COVID-19 handling as the two issues are closely related.

COVID-19 handling will improve public confidence and thereby help increase consumption, which will, in turn, boost the economy, he explained.

"We have to keep the balance between pandemic handling and the economic recovery program. The government will focus on efforts to recover consumers' confidence by accelerating the vaccination program," the minister said.

The government is targeting to inoculate 182 million people out of the total population of 270 million under its vaccination program.

"We want to reach the 70-percent vaccination target to achieve herd immunity. We have to apply stringent health protocols," Hartarto said. (Antaranews)




Mar. 2 - The Ministry of Research and Technology and the Ministry of Health have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to work together on developing Indonesia's indigenous Red and White vaccine.

"I warmly welcome the collaboration with the Ministry of Health, both in the advanced phase of the Red and White vaccine (development), especially preclinical and clinical trials, as well as support for the current national vaccination program," Minister of Research and Technology and head of the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), Bambang PS Brodjonegoro, said during the One Year Commemoration of the COVID-19 Pandemic, held virtually in Jakarta on Tuesday.

Two MoUs were signed during the event. The first was inked between the Minister of Research and Technology and the Minister of Health, represented by Deputy Health Minister Dante Saksono Harbuwono and involves research and development cooperation for the Red and White vaccine development.

The second MoU was signed between the secretary of the Ministry of Research and Technology / Main Secretary of BRIN, Mego Pinandito, and head of the Health Research and Development Agency of the Health Ministry, Slamet, and involves the implementation of research and innovation for the Red and White vaccine.

Brodjonegoro said the MoUs are a form of collaboration for supporting the acceleration of the Red and White vaccine's development to help the nation achieve vaccine self-sufficiency.

"The key is collaboration. Without collaboration, it is practically impossible to defeat this pandemic called COVID-19," he added.

According to him, the Red and White Vaccine is being developed through collaboration to ensure there is coordination between the various parties involved in the process.

"There must be collaboration between all parties who do have the same goal, so I also invite the Health Research and Development Agency to collaborate more closely in the research and innovation activities for COVID-19,” the minister said.

In the current pandemic situation, there should be no competition to show who is better, instead there should be unity and optimization of all resources for fighting the common enemy, namely COVID-19, he remarked. (Antaranews)




Mar. 2 - The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) has said opening up liquor trade would be counterproductive to the government's commitment to develop halal tourism in the country.

"As the Indonesian government has committed to developing a creative economy based on halal tourism, (opening up investments in) the liquor industry will be counterproductive to this commitment," chairman of MUI Fatwa Commission, KH Asrorun Ni’am, noted in an online press conference here on Tuesday.

Opening up liquor trade would slow down efforts to develop halal tourism in Indonesia, he stressed.

In 2009, MUI had asked the government to ban trade in liquor and alcoholic beverages, he said. It had also asked the government to not grant permits for setting up alcoholic beverage factories, he added.

The MUI had also urged the government not to grant licenses for trade of alcoholic beverages and to take firm action against those violating the rules, Ni'am said.

"If the trade is based on economic and investment considerations, then a lot of data shows that the trade always experiences a deficit," he affirmed.

The economic benefits of the liquor trade are not proportional to its impact, both in terms of public health and moral damage to the younger generation, Ni'am opined. Alcohol trade can also lead to many crimes, he added.

Even though the liquor industry is only for export purposes, it can still trigger some problems in diplomatic relations between countries, he said.

"When alcohol is consumed by people abroad, then they will know that the liquor is an Indonesian product, in international relations, this case can undermine the dignity of the Indonesian nation," he explained.

In the meantime, MUI will continue to try to educate the public about the dangers of consuming liquor, Niam emphasized. (Antaranews)




Mar. 2 - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) on Tuesday revoked Presidential Regulation Number 10 of 2021 on investment business fields, including the licensing of investment in the alcoholic beverages industry.

"I, herewith, decide to declare that appendix to the presidential regulation on the opening of new investment in the alcoholic beverages industry is revoked," Jokowi stated on the Presidential Secretariat's YouTube channel.

The head of state signed the regulation on February 2, 2021, thereby opening up investment in the alcoholic beverages industry in the provinces of Bali, East Nusa Tenggara, North Sulawesi, and Papua.

The presidential regulation was issued as a follow-up to the job creation law passed by the House of Representatives (DPR) last year.

The presidential regulation does not specifically regulates liquor but capital investment.

The head of state highlighted that the decision was taken based on various inputs.

"After receiving inputs from ulemas of MUI (the Indonesian Ulemas Council), Nahdlatul Ulama, and Muhammadiyah, as well as other mass organizations and other religious figures as well as provincial and district administrations (I decide to revoke it),” he stated.

Appendix III to the presidential regulation stipulates that investment in the liquor industry is only allowed in the provinces of Bali, East Nusa Tenggara, North Sulawesi, and Papua by taking into account the local culture and wisdom.

However, investment in the liquor industry outside the provinces can be made if approval from the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) chief is secured based on the respective governor's proposal. (Antaranews)