Maintaining an optimistic tone despite the numerous graft scandals that have implicated members of his Democratic Party, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono says that the government’s new road map on poverty eradication will improve people’s welfare.
The road map, titled the “Master Plan for the Acceleration and Expansion of Poverty Reduction” (MP3KI) was launched in January.
It provides long-term guidelines for the government to reduce poverty nationwide from 2012 to 2025.
“With regard to the current global economic crisis, which may also affect our economy, we should respond by reducing budget spending. Any projects that can be postponed, such as building construction, should be put off,” the President said on Wednesday during a Cabinet meeting on the master plan at the Presidential Office.
“Don’t let it be business as usual. This does not only apply to the central government, but also for regional administrations as well,” Yudho-yono continued.
The MP3KI is the second long-term economic road map launched by the government, following the launch of the Master Plan for the Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesian Economic Growth (MP3EI) in 2011.
Meanwhile, Coordinating Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa said that both road maps set long-term targets that included reducing the poverty level by 3 to 4 percent by 2025.
“The President has issued some directives that mentioned that poverty reduction programs should be based in subdistricts and villages. The President also said that the reduction should have credible parameters and benchmarks,” Hatta told a press conference after the Cabinet meeting.
“Another important thing is to ensure the sustainability of people’s income. Those who have improved their welfare and risen above the poverty line are still vulnerable and can possibly fall back into poverty again,” Hatta added.
According to the government, the number of people living in poverty in Indonesia has dropped by 3 million people, or about 5 percent, in the past five years.
Meanwhile, a national economic survey conducted in September said the number of people living in poverty in Indonesia was 29.89 million, or 12 percent of the population.
Earlier on Wednesday, the President led a limited Cabinet meeting to discuss increasing tensions in the Middle East that have pushed crude oil prices up to US$115 this month.
The meeting discussed a proposal to revise 2012 State Budget before June, as opposed to July, when proposals are usually submitted to the House of Representatives.
Yudhoyono said that the government wanted to revise the state budget as soon as possible due to the recent crude oil price increases.
The crisis in the Hormuz Strait has continued to escalate and led Iran’s government to stop crude shipments to British and French companies in an apparent pre-emptive blow against the European Union following a sanctions on Iran’s crucial fuel exports.