The Jakarta Post
State-owned lender Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI), in cooperation with ride-hailing giant Gojek, launched a low-interest loan facility for the latter’s driver and merchant partners, whose income had been hit by the current health crisis.
Gojek’s drivers are eligible for a low-interest loan worth up to Rp 5 million (US$336), while its food merchant partners can borrow a maximum of Rp 20 million for a 24-month tenure.
Furthermore, BRI is also giving leeway to drivers working under the company’s GoRide and GoCar services by freeing them from payment obligations for the first three months.
“We understand that the income of Gojek partners has been affected by the work-from-home and physical-distancing policy. We hope the soft loan facility can support the livelihood of the drivers and small merchants,” BRI consumer director Handayani said on Thursday in a press release.
The partners, however, will still have to meet the minimum requirements for their average earning and the length of partnership with Gojek to access the loan.
Gojek drivers’ income averages Rp 4.9 million per month, according to a survey conducted by the Demographic Institute of the University of Indonesia’s Economic and Business School in 2018.
However, the government’s large-scale social distancing (PSBB) policy has kept most of the public at home, drastically decreasing the income of drivers and merchant partners.
Meanwhile, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) saw a 30 to 35 percent sales decline across Indonesia between February to March 9 alone, according to Indonesian MSME Association chairman Ikhsan Ingratubun.
The initial phase for the program has commenced in Greater Jakarta but BRI also aims to reach more drivers and merchant partners in other regions.
Gojek currently has more than 1.7 million drivers in 167 cities and districts across the archipelago.
Gojek CEO Andre Soelistyo said the company’s drivers and merchant partners were part of a huge population of informal workers that is crucial in maintaining the economic engine.
“The soft loan facility will help ease the financial burden of our partners in these trying times. We really appreciate and are thankful for the support of BRI to facilitate this loan program,” he said.