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Jakarta Post

COVID-19: Jokowi calls for transparency in social assistance distribution

  • Apriza Pinandita
    Apriza Pinandita

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, May 4, 2020   /   03:52 pm
COVID-19: Jokowi calls for transparency in social assistance distribution An employee of state-owned postal company PT POS Indonesia arranges packages of staple food that will be distributed to Greater Bandung residents impacted by the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) that will be imposed in the area for 14 days starting on April 22. (Antara/Novrian Arbi)

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has called for transparency in the distribution of social assistance in response to the COVID-19 outbreak amid mounting issues surrounding the delivery of aid.

For instance, Jokowi stressed that the public should know the details about those who are eligible to receive the aid and what type of aid is being distributed.

“I want the social assistance recipient data to be transparently available [for the public],” Jokowi said during a COVID-19 task force virtual meeting on Monday.

The President also urged stakeholders to accelerate distribution, saying he “wants all of [the aid] to be received this week". 

He also called on the relevant authorities, including the social affairs minister, regional leaders, district and village heads to closely supervise the distribution of social assistance.

“The timing [of the distribution] must be well-managed as there is aid from the central government and local governments […] a hotline must be created so that everyone can report possible embezzlement,” Jokowi said.

Read also: COVID-19 aid stalled, used for political stunts

While the central government has claimed that the distribution of various forms of social assistance is underway, problems have emerged in the data for determining those who are eligible. Some poor families have complained they have not received assistance when those in well-off neighborhoods had.

In Batam, Riau Islands, many residents have not received aid. In East Java, municipalities and regencies in the province have not yet submitted the names of eligible recipients.

Meanwhile, in the country's COVID-19 epicenter, Jakarta, there have been reports that several companies appointed by the government to help pack staple foods for distribution to affected families had experienced delays caused by a shortage of special bags printed with a message from the President.

Analysts have also raised concerns about the lack of human resources needed for the government to achieve 100 percent accuracy in its poverty data — saying that the process for updating data was not optimal and had caused confusion over who was eligible to receive the aid.

They also warned about potential illicit practices, from illegal fees to price gouging, highlighting the lack of supervision of the distribution.