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Jakarta Post

Indonesia to reallocate $1.8b budget for health care, cash transfers: Sri Mulyani

  • Adrian Wail Akhlas

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, March 18, 2020   /   07:08 pm
Indonesia to reallocate $1.8b budget for health care, cash transfers: Sri Mulyani A medical officers works at the infectious diseases ward at Adam Malik Central General Hospital in Medan, North Sumatra, on March 4. (Antara/Septianda Perdana)

The government announced on Wednesday it is finalizing a third stimulus package as it reallocated Rp 27 trillion (US$1.8 billion) to fund the healthcare system.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said the government would reallocate up to Rp 10 trillion from the portion of the state budget that was set for ministries and institutions, as well as Rp 17.2 trillion in funds earmarked for regional administrations.

“These resources will be useful for them in handling COVID-19-related issues immediately as part of our broader plan to mitigate the effects of COVID-19,” Sri Mulyani told reporters.

The government was currently finalizing the third stimulus package, which would prioritize healthcare services and cash transfers, she added.

“However, we are still assessing the scope, mechanisms and the target for the third stimulus but we are in a very flexible mode that allows us to react properly.”

Read also: Government allocates $8b to stimulate economy as businesses, workers suffer from COVID-19 impacts

Indonesia’s economic growth outlook was expected to deteriorate to around 4.5 to 4.9 percent in the first quarter and may further plunge in the second quarter this year amid weakening economic activities, the finance minister said.

Sri Mulyani said that low-income households and individuals working in the informal sector would be given financial assistance. She did not provide further details.

“The third stimulus will be prioritized for health care, including hospital needs and medical devices, as well as give people a social safety net,” she said, adding that the government was still evaluating the previous stimulus packages.

The first stimulus package, worth Rp 10.3 trillion, was announced Feb. 25. It provided staple needs and mortgage subsidies for low-income families, as well as fiscal incentives for travel-related industries. The second one, worth Rp 22.9 trillion, included individual and corporate tax breaks.

Indonesia has 227 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 19 deaths. Globally, the pneumonia-like illness has infected over 200,000 people and claimed at least 8,000 lives.