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Indonesia’s trade balance recorded a USD0.33 billion surplus in February 2019, reversing the previous USD1.06 billion deficit experienced the month earlier, the country's central bank spokesman revealed in a statement that Antara received in Jakarta on Monday.

"The surplus was primarily due to gains in the non-oil and gas trade balance as the decline in non-oil and gas imports outperformed the corresponding decline in non-oil and gas exports," Bank Indonesia (BI)'s Communication Department Executive Director Onny Widjanarko said.

Meanwhile, the oil and gas trade balance remained relatively stable on the dynamics reported in the previous period, Widjanarko remarked.

The non-oil and gas trade surplus stood at USD0.79 billion in February 2019, improving from a USD0.64 billion deficit the previous month.

Such developments were explained by a USD2.69 billion (mtm) decrease in non-oil and gas imports that exceeded the USD1.25 billion (mtm) dip in non-oil and gas exports, Widjanarko stated.

Non-oil and gas imports were held back by electrical machinery and equipment, iron and steel, as well as machinery and mechanical appliances, while non-oil and gas exports were influenced by shipments of mineral fuels, vegetables and animal oils and fats, as well as metal ore, crust and dust.

Widjanarko remarked that non-oil and gas exports have also decelerated in line with global economic moderation and sliding international commodity prices.

The oil and gas deficit was recorded in February 2019 at USD0.46 billion, relatively stable on the USD0.42 billion posted in the previous period, he said.

Widjanarko remarked that the deficit primarily stemmed from a USD0.15 billion (mtm) decrease in oil and gas exports combined with a USD0.10 billion downtick in oil and gas imports.

Gas was the main drag on oil and gas exports due to lower export volume and prices, while crude oil contributed to the import decline apropos lower import volume and prices.

Bank Indonesia considers the trade surplus recorded in February 2019 consistent with efforts to improve current account performance, Widjanarko remarked.

Moving forward, Bank Indonesia and the Government will continue to coordinate in order to monitor global and domestic economic developments, thereby strengthening external sector resilience, including the trade outlook.  (ANTARA)


The Indonesian Government has urged local residents and tourists to remain calm and not get influenced by rumours and misleading information in response to the 5.4-magnitude earthquake that rocked Lombok Island Sunday, March 17.

The Indonesian Government also pledged to cover the costs of medical treatment, medicine, and funeral of all victims of the earthquake, Spokesman of the Indonesian Tourism Ministry Guntur Sakti told journalists in Jakarta Monday.

The tourism ministry has been coordinating with the regional governments and other related agencies to handle those affected by the quake that had triggered a landslide at Tiu Kelep Waterfall area, one of the resort island's popular tourist sites, he said.

Due to this catastrophe, two Malaysian tourists identified as Tai Siaw Kim and Lim Sai Wah, as well as a local resident died, Sakti who is also head of the ministry's Tourism Crisis Center, said.

The Indonesian Government would do its best to rescue and evacuate 22 Malaysian tourists from the disaster zone.

Sakti also ensured that all costs of medical treatment of the wounded victims and funeral of the dead ones would be covered by the West Nusa Tenggara provincial government.

"The transportation of bodies of the two deceased to their families in Malaysia will also be handled by the West Nusa Tenggara provincial government. We are deeply saddened by this disaster," he said.

The landslide had caused around 40 tourists to get trapped in the tourist site of Tiu Kelep waterfall in Senaru Village, North Lombok District on Sunday, spokesman of the North Lombok District Government Mujaddin Muhas said earlier. Most of the tourists are from Malaysia.

Certain areas of West Nusa Tenggara Province, including North Lombok District, were rocked by the 5.4-magnitude earthquake Sunday at around 02.07 pm local time but it did not trigger a tsunami.

The earthquake's epicenter was located around 24 km east of East Lombok District, 36 km northeast of North Lombok District, 37 km northwest of Panjang Island in Sumbawa District, and 63 km northeast of Mataram, the capital city of West Nusa Tenggara Province, according to the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG).

Indonesia lies on the Circum-Pacific Belt, also known as the Ring of Fire, where several tectonic plates meet and cause frequent volcanic and seismic activities.

As a result, several parts of the archipelago are prone to earthquakes, including the deadly earthquakes in Lombok Island, West Nusa Tenggara Province, and Palu, the capital city of Central Sulawesi Province.

During 2018, Indonesia was hit by a total of 11,577 earthquakes, including several of them that caused serious casualties, with the number increasing significantly as compared to that in 2017.

A string of strong earthquakes that repeatedly rocked Lombok Island in 2018 had caused serious catastrophes. (ANTARA)


The Indonesian government vowed to further transfer Rp5.5 million to cover shortfall in the earthquake relief funding for victims whose homes incurred light to moderate damages, the Mataram city government in West Nusa Tenggara Province confirmed this week.

"The transfer of the Rp5.5 billion shortfall in aid was delivered at a technical meeting in Jakarta, led by the deputy speaker of the Indonesian House of Representatives and attended by the DPR RI disaster management team," Mataram City Assistant for Governance and People's Welfare Lalu Martawang stated in Mataram on Monday.

It was confirmed that the funds will be transferred directly to the accounts of each beneficiary in accordance with a Decree of the Mayor of Mataram from 1-7, with the total number of damaged houses reaching 2,777 and lightly damaged, 8,264 units.

"Some of the victims, whose houses had incurred moderate to light damages, have been transferred (the funding assistance) in the first phase, while the funding shortfall of Rp.5.5 billion is for victims, who have not been able to get to the first stage," he explained.

He noted that with the earthquake, measuring 5.8 on the Richter Scale, hitting on Sunday (Mar 17), the community members were left with no choice but to build earthquake-resistant houses by utilizing the offered funds.

"Please, for residents, they are allowed to choose whether to build earthquake-resistant houses based on the concept of Risha (simple healthy instant home) or conventional house (Riko)," he noted.

Head of the Mataram City Housing and Settlement Agency (Perkim) HM Kemal Islam had earlier remarked that the community was urged to form a group after the funding assistance was transferred according to the criteria of damage, which was Rp10 million for residents with slightly damaged houses and Rp25 million for people whose homes were moderately damaged.

After the formation of community groups, the members are required to transfer the funding aid from a personal account to a community bank account, so that its utilization can be controlled and the administration can be accounted for.

For supervision, 80 facilitators have been roped in to help the community prepare a budget plan (RAB) for each member of the community groups.

"If the victim prepares the RAB below the offered value of assistance, then the rest must be returned. Hence, the facilitator is urged to help the community to prepare the RAB in real terms and not making it up," he cautioned.

The process of building houses that had incurred light damage is currently targeted for completion on April 22, 2019, so facilitators and community beneficiaries were urged to move quickly.

Kemal pointed to two obstacles faced in the process of repairing the lightly damaged houses of the earthquake victims, with the first being that several beneficiaries had yet to conduct comprehensive repairs of their homes for various reasons.

"Secondly, the recipients of the assistance were facing difficulties in finding masons around Mataram and West Lombok, so the victims had to search for such artisans in the southern part of Central Lombok Regency that was unaffected by the earthquake despite the costs running high," he pointed out. (ANTARA)  


The families of Indonesians who fell victims to the mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch City, New Zealand, will be facilitated to visit the country, Indonesian Foreign Ministry's spokesman, Arrmanatha Nasir, noted in Jakarta on Monday.

"The Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the New Zealand Embassy in Jakarta are helping to prepare the travel documents and visas,"  he said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs facilitated the family of Muhammad Abdul Hamid, also known as Lilik Abdul Hamid, 58, an Indonesian citizen, who had died during the terror attack at An Nur Mosque, to offer a final tribute directly to him.

Indonesian citizen Hamid had been living in Christchurch for 16 years and working as an aircraft maintenance engineer in Air New Zealand.

According to the plan, Hamid will be buried in Christchurch.

In addition to Hamid's family, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also assisted the family of Zulfirman Syah, an Indonesian citizen, who was shot while conducting Friday prayers at the Linwood Mosque.

The Indonesian citizen from Padang, West Sumatra, and his two-year-old son are still being treated at the Christchurch Public Hospital.

"The condition of the father is more serious than his son, but both have received treatment and are now gradually recovering," Nasir revealed.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that eight Indonesian citizens were victims of the shooting in Christchurch on Friday (Mar 15).

Of these, five Indonesian citizens were safe, two Indonesians were injured, and one died.

Based on records of the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there are 331 Indonesian citizens in the city of Christchurch, including 134 students. The distance from Wellington to Christchurch reaches 440 kilometers.

Families and relatives of Indonesian citizens in need of further information and consular assistance can call the KBRI Wellington hotline numbers: +64211950980and +64 22 3812 065.

The mosque shooting incident in Christchurch in New Zealand took place as several Muslims were offering Friday prayers.

The New Zealand Police have called on all to reduce outdoor activities and to remain indoors. (ANTARA)