The Jakarta Post
Local tech giant Gojek has announced it will provide at least Rp 100 billion (US$6 million) to help drivers cope with low demand as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gojek co-CEO Andre Soelistyo said the funding comes from the salaries of Gojek senior management – a quarter of the year’s pay – and the budgeted salary increases for all Gojek employees this year. The funds will be donated to drivers and other partners who are dealing with the economic pressures of the pandemic.
Andre said the company on Tuesday established the Gojek Partner Support Fund, which will be managed by a new foundation, Yayasan Anak Bangsa Bisa, to ensure transparency and good governance in the disbursement of funds.
“Transportation has seen big drops in numbers with no one going to school or working at the office. Activities on the road have declined considerably,” Andre told a limited media teleconference. “Drivers and merchants are selfless heroes. They work so we can stay at home, giving support for our daily activities.”
The decision to donate 25 percent of senior management-level employees’ full-year salaries and all Gojek employees’ salary increases for the year has been made with the consent of all Gojek employees.
“We opened the opportunity for Gojek employees to contribute. The support has been great. Everyone is supportive. They see this as fitting since the life and growth of Gojek as a company really depend on the success of our partners,” Andre said.
Gojek currently has more than 1.7 million drivers in 167 cities and districts across the Indonesian archipelago. Drivers’ income averages Rp 4.9 million per month for the ride-hailing service, according to a survey conducted by the Demographic Institute of the University of Indonesia Economic and Business School in 2018.
The announcement adds to a previous initiative that provides income assistance for drivers who have tested positive for COVID-19, which began on March 19. Gojek will provide a stipend for its driver-partners for 14 days and will put payments owed by its partners on hold, including for insurance coverage and vehicle installments, until they are cleared to go back to work.
“Give generous tips to online motorcycle taxi drivers who have served us,” senior development economist Vivi Alatas wrote on her Twitter account as one of the ways individuals can help soften the economic shock on the most vulnerable Indonesians.
Companies around the world and in Indonesia have unveiled financial assistance measures, including direct cash donations and emergency loans, to families and small businesses most affected by the broad-based economic slowdown from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coal producer PT Adaro Energy Tbk donated Rp 20 billion to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) on Monday to help with the country’s efforts to contain COVID-19. Tech giant Facebook announced on March 18 that it would provide $100 million in cash grants and ad credits to up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in the more than 30 countries where Facebook operates.
“It’s high time for companies to do massive CSR [corporate social responsibility] and work hand in hand in helping more people and the vulnerable, while helping the government ensure the readiness of the supply side,” Vivi said.
Only one out of five Indonesians is economically secure, according to the World Bank report Aspiring Indonesia. About 24.8 million Indonesians live on under US$1 a day – 9.22 percent of the population – and over 60 million are vulnerable to falling into poverty.
From empty malls to factory disruptions, COVID-19 is expected to cause micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) sales to plunge by between 30 and 35 percent across Indonesia from February to March 9 alone, MSME Association chairman Ikhsan Ingratubun said. (ydp)