The Jakarta Post
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has called on regional administrations to quickly disburse funds for the response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Jokowi said it was crucial that every governor, regent and mayor fast-track the reallocation of regional budgets (APBD) to bolster the health and business sectors in their respective communities.
Furthermore, he said he expected the budget reallocation to improve the distribution of social aid, which had previously faced hurdles due to several factors including data errors.
“We should also prepare the budget for an economic stimulus for small and medium enterprises,” Jokowi told a number of regional heads during a meeting at the Central Java Governor’s Office in Semarang. “The central government must prepare, the provincial administration must prepare, the regency and municipal administrations must also prepare [the budget]. There should be multiple layers so nothing is overlooked.”
He went on to remind regional heads that knowing whether it was time to “hit the brakes or gas” in regard to large-scale restrictions was vital amid shifting public attitude toward the current health emergency.
“It would be ideal if we could [juggle between] COVID-19 mitigation, health care and the economy,” the President said in his address.
Jokowi previously said he was prepared to take “extraordinary steps”, including a Cabinet reshuffle, should his ministers fail to take COVID-19 seriously.
He urged all ministries to cut through the red tape and accelerate their spending in order to stimulate the economy, citing the state budget for the health sector as an example of the slow spending
He also called on the Health Ministry to immediately pay out the financial incentives promised to health workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak.