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Jakarta Post

COVID-19: Govt to distribute social aid for Greater Jakarta residents

  • Marchio Irfan Gorbiano and Moch. Fiqih Prawira Adjie

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, April 7, 2020   /   01:45 pm
COVID-19: Govt to distribute social aid for Greater Jakarta residents Traders wait for trucks after packing up clothes from stalls at Tanah Abang Market in Central Jakarta on April 6. City-owned market operator Pasar Jaya has delayed the reopening of the market until April 19 to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan )

The government is set to distribute social aid for low-income families across Greater Jakarta affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, which is putting the region’s underprivileged at a higher risk of slipping into extreme poverty during the crisis.

The aid, comprising social assistance funds for 3.7 million poor families and 200,000 staple food packages, will be provided by the central government and Jakarta administration.

President Joko “Jokowi” said on Tuesday that the central government would prepare the funds for 2.6 million families, while the Jakarta administration would distribute money to the remaining 1.1 million.

“[The social aid] will be provided for two months, in line with the state of emergency period announced by the government’s COVID-19 task force,” the President said during a virtual limited Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Read also: Jakarta’s poor at risk as city drags feet on COVID-19 social assistance

Jokowi added he had instructed the Social Affairs Ministry to distribute staple food packages to Greater Jakarta residents.

He went on to emphasize the importance of the program for the people.

“[This] has to be right on target. The beneficiaries should be determined by their name and address, so it will be precise and accurate,” Jokowi said, adding the government should involve regional administrations and neighborhood and community units in the distribution.

The President also demanded that the assistance be distributed as soon as possible. 

“Use practical methods that don’t hinder the process. Micro, small and medium enterprises [MSMEs] should be reached, as well as traders in traditional markets and ojek [motorcycle taxi] drivers.”

Read also: Government to reduce ‘mudik’ travel by disbursing social aid

The social assistance is a part of the government’s social safety net programs valued at Rp 110 trillion (US$6.7 billion). A portion of the funds will also be distributed to 10 million families in the Family Hope Program and 20 million others covered under the staple food program.

Jokowi said the government would speed up the distribution of assistance under both programs, as well as increase it by up to 25 percent for the Family Hope Program and 30 percent for the staple food program.

The social safety net programs also include free electricity for 24 million households under the 450-volt ampere (VA) category and a 50 percent discount for 7 million customers under the 900 VA category for three months starting April.

The government has also increased funds allocated for the pre-employment card program to Rp 20 trillion from the initial budget of Rp 10 trillion, covering 5.6 million laid-off workers, informal workers and MSME owners.