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Jakarta Post

Preemployment card program to make up for delay, admit more recipients

  • Dzulfiqar Fathur Rahman

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, July 28, 2020   /   02:05 pm
Preemployment card program to make up for delay, admit more recipients People search for information on the preemployment card program in Jakarta on April 20. (Antara/Aditya Pradana Putra) (Antara/Aditya Pradana Putra)

The management of the preemployment card program is planning to increase the admission intake for future registration batches to make up for the temporary suspension, an official has stated.

The fourth round of registration has been delayed since the program’s third registration batch in late April. The government said earlier this month it was planning to admit 500,000 eligible applicants for the fourth round of registration, slated to commence later this month.

“[The Coordinating Economic Minister] signaled to us that once the program reopens, the volume will be much bigger than before and we will do this consistently for more than four batches ahead,” Denni Puspa Purbasari, the executive director of the management, said in a virtual talk on Monday.

The preemployment card program, a mix of social assistance and a skilling program for laid-off workers affected by the pandemic, has been temporarily suspended to allow an overhaul of its legal basis and governance. The suspension is in response to the Corruption Eradication Commission’s (KPK) report on irregularities in the program, including a potential for conflicts of interest and a risk of mistargeting.

The government then issued Presidential Regulation No. 76/2020, which allows the management to file criminal charges against ineligible participants who use falsified personal data in applying to the program, among other things.

Since its launch in mid-April, the preemployment card program has attracted 11.3 million applicants across the country and accepted 680,000 eligible participants, around half of whom are laid-off workers.

With a budget of Rp 20 trillion (US$1.38 billion), the program aims to help laid-off or furloughed workers by offering them a benefit worth Rp 3.5 million per recipient.

The pandemic has battered the Indonesian economy, which only grew 2.97 percent in the first quarter, the lowest in 19 years. Some 5.5 million people may lose their jobs this year, raising the total number of unemployed people to 12.7 million, according to an estimate by the National Development Planning Ministry.

Read also: Jokowi sets salaries for preemployment card’s directors amid criticism of program

With the program, the government aims not only to help people stay afloat by finding another employment opportunity, but also by becoming an entrepreneur. By the end of June, the program was offering 3,805 courses through eight partnering platforms, including e-commerce giants Tokopedia and Bukalapak.

Bukalapak reported Monday that the most popular courses on its platform were online business and digital marketing, according to Rachmat Kaimuddin, the chief executive officer.

Rachmat added that online business courses accounted for around 65 percent of the preemployment card’s courses offered via Bukalapak’s platform.

“We have seen quite high interest in the preemployment card,” said Rachmat.

However, not all eligible recipients have received the Rp 600,000 monthly cash assistance from the program because they have not completed a course or experienced issues regarding their bank accounts or e-wallets.

State-owned Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI), which partners with the program, now provides in-person consultation for eligible recipients facing technical issues in receiving the cash assistance as its 2,262 branch offices have now reopened.

“Our outlets are ready to help people open a bank account for the preemployment card,” said Sis Apik Wijayanto, the director of institutional relations at the bank.

The management reported that around 70 percent of eligible recipients had finished at least one course, qualifying them to get the cash aid. Of the recipients, between 10,000 and 20,000 have not received the aid funds.