President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo reiterated his instruction to the Cabinet members to accelerate government spending to restore the national economy, asking them to prioritize spending on domestic products in the third quarter of 2020.
“We should put the brakes on spending overseas. Buy, shop and get our own products, so it can trigger the economy and spur our growth,” the President said in a limited Cabinet meeting at the State Palace in Jakarta on Tuesday.
Jokowi said as an example that the Defense Ministry should prioritize spending in state-owned companies such as aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia, weapons manufacturer Pindad and shipbuilder PT PAL Indonesia.
He said Indonesia was now able to produce much of the medical equipment needed to handle COVID-19 domestically, including medical substances, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test kits, rapid test kits and personal protective equipment (PPE).
“Don’t spend anything outside, let alone masks, which we produce a lot of. We produce 17 million units of PPE per month, compared to 4 to 5 million units that we actually use,” Jokowi said.
The President hoped his Cabinet could accelerate state spending with simpler procedures, especially those with big budgets, such as the Defense Ministry, the Social Affairs Ministry and the National Police.
“I am now monitoring ministries’ spending on a daily basis — by what percentage it increases. The third quarter is key. Once it can leverage the growth, the fourth quarter will be easier and next year will also be easier,” he said.
Closing his instruction, the President reminded his Cabinet to work above and beyond to meet the needs of the wider community, stressing that distribution of stimulus packages must be accelerated.
“Don’t assume that we are in a mediocre situation. I see that social assistance has been good, but economic stimulus to both small-to-medium and big businesses and that in the health sector need to be improved,” he said.