COVID-19: Indonesia's Jokowi instructs Cabinet to expedite social aid distribution

COVID-19: Indonesia's Jokowi instructs Cabinet to expedite social aid distribution

People wearing a protective face mask stand in line to get free food amid the coronavirus disease (
People wearing a protective face mask stand in line to get free food amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Jakarta, Indonesia, May 14, 2020. REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana

JAKARTA: Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Monday (May 18) called on ministries to expedite social aid delivery, noting that bureaucratic hurdle has contributed to the slow distribution. 

Speaking at the beginning of a Cabinet meeting, the president, known popularly as Jokowi, said only 15 per cent of the underprivileged people in villages and 25 per cent of those in the cities whose livelihoods were affected by the pandemic had received social aid.

“For the distribution of direct cash social aid and basic necessities, I want the process to be expedited and (bureaucracy) simplified,” Jokowi told Cabinet members.  

The president suggested to delegate this task to regional administrations to speed up the application and verification process involved in determining who would be eligible for such assistance. 

READ: Red tape prevents laid-off, poor Indonesians from getting promised aid

“Give more flexibility to regional governments, particularly villages, to make and implement their own policies. Of course we must maintain accountability,” he said.

The Indonesian government has set aside 641 trillion rupiah (US$43 billion) to fund social protection and economic stimulus programmes.

READ: Indonesia’s economic stimulus not enough to stop layoffs, focus should be to contain COVID-19, say experts

Jokowi has instructed the Ministry of Villages and Underdeveloped Regions to provide social assistance to more than 10 million underprivileged families living in rural areas.

Under the scheme, each family would receive 1.8 million rupiah over a three-month period.

The Ministry of Social Affairs is also providing the same amount to 13 million underprivileged families living in urban areas.

Meanwhile, the government is providing 2.4 million rupiah over a four-month period to the unemployed and people who recently lost their jobs because of the pandemic under the Pre-Employment Card programme.

Participants however have to complete several online courses offered by the programme, originally designed for the unemployed and fresh graduates, before receiving cash assistance.

Source: CNA/ni

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