The Jakarta Post
The Public Works and Housing Ministry is moving forward with its labor-intensive projects in rural areas, which include the irrigation improvement acceleration program (P3TGAI) to provide steady income for people in rural areas during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A total of Rp 2.25 trillion (US$144.5 million) has been allocated for the irrigation improvement program, around a quarter of the Rp 10.2 trillion budget for labor-intensive program (PKT), according a press statement issued by the ministry on Thursday.
“Besides decreasing unemployment and helping maintain people’s purchasing power, the PKT also aims to improve the irrigation infrastructure in rural regions,” Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono said in the statement.
The ministry has reallocated Rp 36.19 trillion of its Rp 120 trillion annual budget to help cushion the impact of COVID-19 in the country. The largest portion of the reallocated budget, Rp 24.53 trillion, will go toward direct aid or activities directly linked with COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
Under the program, local farmers receive daily or weekly payment to improve their irrigation system by installing paved lining through the channel, the ministry’s press release reads.
The number of recipients in the irrigation improvement acceleration program was increased following the ministry's budget changes from an initial 6,000 locations to 10,000 locations in 33 provinces across Indonesia. Construction under the project has already begun in 458 locations in 11 provinces, including West Java, Central Java and East Java.
Besides providing steady income for local farmers through labor-intensive infrastructure projects, the ministry also aims to employ former Indonesian migrant workers who previously worked in Malaysia through the scheme.
“We are working closely with the Foreign Ministry to identify the hometowns of migrant workers who were repatriated from Malaysia. We will [then] establish labor-intensive projects,” Basuki said during an online press briefing on April 13.