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Jakarta Post

COVID-19: Govt to give Rp 5m aid to shops, 'ojol' drivers as business slows down

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, March 26, 2020   /   04:50 pm
COVID-19: Govt to give Rp 5m aid to shops, 'ojol' drivers as business slows down Erwin Siahaan, an online ride-hailing motorcycle driver, gets ready for the day in Medan, North Sumatra on May 13, 2019. (Antara/Septianda Perdana)

The government plans to give financial aid of up to 5 million rupiah (US$306.80) to each macro and small business, as well as to workers in the informal sector, such as those running ride-hailing motorcycle taxis, whose earnings have been hit because of the stay-at-home policy imposed because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Among the worst-hit groups are small shop owners, small traders and Gojek's and Grab's drivers, also known as ojol (motorcycle taxi drivers) and taksol (car drivers), since they depend on day-to-day income, said the secretary of the Office of the Coordinating Economic Affairs Minister, Susiwijono Moegiarso.

“We have prepared a form of social assistance to protect their purchasing power,” Susiwijono said at a press conference on Thursday.

The government is to coordinate with regional administrations, business associations and ride-hailing companies to register those who are entitled to receive the aid. 

The money would be taken out of the Rp 10.3 trillion fund government had earlier earmarked for the preemployment card program to give money to new school and college graduates seeking jobs, he said.

Read also: Jokowi relaxes loan settlements to help small businesses cope with COVID-19 effects

The program, one of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s election campaigns in 2019, was launched last week. The program initially aims at providing first-time jobseekers relief funds and vocational training.

Workers from informal sectors including those employed in micro, small and medium enterprises should register for the preemployment card program to receive Rp 1 million in training money and another Rp 1 million monthly incentive for four months, for a total of Rp 5 million in financial aid.

“We will begin taking online applications from April 1,” he said. “Those who meet the requirements and are not currently undergoing formal education could apply,” he said.

Workers in the formal sector are also to get assistance of Rp 5 million from the government, which would be channeled through the Workers Social Security Agency (BPJS Ketenagakerjaan).

“With this policy, the informal sector and daily workers who are most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic could survive and maintain their spending power,” he said. (mfp)