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Jakarta Post

Govt to disburse social assistance to Greater Jakarta poor by April 20

  • Ghina Ghaliya
    Ghina Ghaliya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, April 8, 2020   /   11:12 am
Govt to disburse social assistance to Greater Jakarta poor by April 20 A man browses face masks in front of a shop in the Halim Perdanakusuma area, East Jakarta, on April 6. The government is encouraging people to wear masks when outside or using public transportation. (JP/P.J. Leo)

The government will disburse social assistance funds and staple food packages starting late April to more than 3 million low-income families in Greater Jakarta affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Social Affairs Minister Juliari Batubara said on Tuesday that the number of beneficiaries would be around 2.5 million people in Jakarta, as well as 1.6 million in its satellite cities of Tangerang in Banten as well as Bogor, Depok and Bekasi in West Java.

Each person will receive a staple food package worth Rp 150,000 (US$37) every week for three months starting April. “We can start delivering on April 20," Juliari said.

The minister added that the staple food package disbursement was part of the social safety net programs requested by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to assist people whose incomes had been affected by the outbreak but could not return to their hometowns.

Read also: Govt to give cash aid to 4.1 million people affected by COVID-19 in Greater Jakarta

"We are aware that Ramadan is approaching. This is for people who cannot participate in the Idul Fitri mudik [exodus], while they have no income at the same time."

Juliari went on to say that the government might add more people to the list of the assistance beneficiaries following Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan’s request for aid for laid-off daily workers in the capital.

“We will decide the number immediately but each person will receive staple food packages worth Rp 600,000. [...] They don’t have to have a Jakarta ID card, but they must be laid-off daily workers who live in Jakarta.”

The minister also said the government would start disbursing staple food packages in Jakarta worth Rp 200,000 to mark the beginning of the social safety net program.

In addition to the staple food package program, the government has also prepared a monthly cash transfers (BLT) program of Rp 600,000 for each underprivileged family across the country for three months.

Read also: Indonesia’s COVID-19 stimulus playbook explained

The BLT program is designated for people ineligible for the Family Hope Program and staple food packages programs.

“The President has approved BLT disbursement for all families in our database. There are approximately 9 million families designated to receive the aid.”

The government is confident, the minister added, that it will be able to protect the bottom 40 percent affected by the outbreak by increasing the capacity of the PKH and staple food package program.

“Especially for the PKH beneficiaries, they can get cash transfers every month until December this year.”