The Jakarta Post
The administration of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla has statistically managed to reduce the country’s poverty rate since entering office, but at the same time it has created a greater depth of poverty, an economist has said.
Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (INDEF) economist Bhima Yudhistira Adhinegara said the nation had seen a decline in its poverty rate as stated by the Central Statistics Agency’s (BPS) latest report.
The poverty rate dropped to 10.8 percent of the population in March, its lowest rate in 20 years, he said, quoting the BPS figures.
Indonesia's Gini coefficient, a measure of inequality where zero represents complete equality and one significant inequality, fell to 0.39 in March from 0.40 in the same period last year.
“If we talk about poverty, on aggregate, there has been a decline [in the poverty rate]. The inequality has also declined. However, the gap has widened in regard to the poverty depth index,” Bhima told The Jakarta Post on Friday.
He said the greater depth of poverty recorded in the latest BPS report possibly resulted from the Java-centric development orientation adopted by Jokowi’s administration.
“One of its major causes could be a fact that Indonesia’s development is concentrated in Java while eastern parts of the country lag behind,” the researcher said.
The country’s easternmost region Papua is among the areas with the highest poverty rates.
Citing BPS data for this year’s second quarter, Bhima said almost 60 percent of development projects and 52 percent of investment were focused on the country’s most populous island. (ebf)
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