The Jakarta Post
The Jakarta administration has secured sufficient food supplies for residents to prevent shortages during the coming Islamic holy month of Ramadan as the COVID-19 outbreak stokes uncertainty in the capital, the country’s hardest-hit area.
“The food supply is enough for the needs leading up to Ramadan and through Idul Fitri,” Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said during an online video conference with Vice President Ma’ruf Amin on Thursday.
The month of Ramadan will begin on April 23 and will end with Idul Fitri celebrations. People typically buy more during the fasting month, which pushes up the prices of basic commodities.
The city administration is expecting a surge in demand for staple foods as millions of Jakartans are Muslim, 85.3 percent of the capital’s 10 million people, according to the 2010 census.
Some commodities, such as garlic and sugar, are of particular concern in Jakarta. Statistics Indonesia’s Jakarta office (BPS Jakarta) found that the average price of garlic had risen by 0.21 percent to Rp 44,465 (US$2.68) per kilogram and the average price of sugar by 20.62 percent to Rp 15,583 per kilogram, according to data released on Wednesday.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo previously said the government would keep garlic prices between Rp 20,000 and Rp 30,000 per kilogram and would keep sugar prices to Rp 12,500 per kilogram by procuring additional supplies from overseas.
Disrupted logistics, however, are posing a challenge to both the administration and the central government’s plans to ensure the food supply.
Jakarta has had the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country. As the national epicenter of the outbreak, the capital city has declared a state of emergency between March 16 and April 19, including the suspension of schools, in-office work, large religious gatherings and public activities.
The suspension of such activities is in line with the government’s recently issued large-scale social restriction (PSBB) measure.
The suspension of public religious activities drew the government’s attention as Muslims traditionally perform more rituals during the holy month.
When Vice President Ma’ruf asked Anies how long the measures would last, the governor said his administration had not made any decisions.
“We still have time, and we will observe the developments before Ramadan,” said Anies. “We will probably wait for the Indonesian Ulema Council [MUI] to give advice if the COVID-19 situation shows no improvement leading up to Ramadan.”
In addition to declaring a state of emergency, the Jakarta administration is allocating Rp 3 trillion of its Rp 87.9 trillion 2020 regional budget for COVID-19 efforts until May.
“If [the outbreak] drags on beyond May, we will definitely raise the allocation,” Anies said.
The governor is planning to allocate more money to fund the COVID-19 response from a profit-sharing fund worth Rp 7.5 trillion run by the Finance Ministry.