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Jakarta Post

Jokowi disburses cash aid to 200 small businesses in Aceh

  • Dzulfiqar Fathur Rahman

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, August 25, 2020   /   06:18 pm
Jokowi disburses cash aid to 200 small businesses in Aceh A coffee farmer picks Gayo coffee beans on a coffee plantation in Central Aceh. (Shutterstock/MIB stockimages)

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo met on Tuesday with 200 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) in Banda Aceh to disburse the productive social assistance aimed at helping them survive the pandemic downturn.

A cake seller in the audience told the President that his revenue had fallen to Rp 50,000 (US$3.40) a day from Rp 150,000 a day during normal times.

“We hope with the additional [money] your business can get bigger. We hope the revenue can rebound although it may not be back to the normal level,” Jokowi said in a virtual presser of the handover ceremony on Tuesday.

The government launched the assistance on Monday, transferring Rp 2.4 million in cash assistance to 1 million unbankable small businesses across the country.

As Indonesia’s economy relies largely on MSMEs, the assistance is meant to soften the economic impact of the pandemic, which caused Indonesia’s economy to contract 5.32 percent year-on-year (yoy) in the second quarter of the year.

With a budget reaching Rp 22 trillion for the first phase, the government is planning to aid 9.16 million MSMEs by the end of September. It is eyeing to cover 12 million enterprises in total eventually.

State-owned pawnshop company PT Pegadaian will disburse the aid to more than 59 percent of the 9.16 million recipients, state-owned banks to 32.09 percent, regional cooperatives and SME agencies to 5.87 percent, the Cooperatives Movement to 1.77 percent, regional development banks to 0.88 percent and rural micro lenders to 0.03 percent.

With regard to the pandemic situation, Jokowi said Aceh fared better than provinces on Java island as indicated by the activity on the streets that he observed. The province had recorded 1,241 confirmed cases as of Monday, accounting for 0.8 percent of the national tally.

“I told the governor to tighten control so that COVID-19 could abate and would no longer exist in Aceh and in Indonesia,” said the President.

The government has allocated Rp 123.47 trillion in the state budget for small businesses as part of its COVID-19 rescue package amounting to Rp 695.2 trillion. Of the budget for SME assistance, the government has spent 36 percent so far.