The Jakarta Post
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic should serve as a turning point for the improvement of the village economy as ruralization takes place amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has said.
The President said the current economic downturn experienced by the country, which has resulted in rising unemployment in big cities, had eventually forced large numbers of people to return to their hometowns to survive.
“When economic crisis happens in urban areas, villages are supposed to be the buffer zones as ruralization occurs,” Jokowi said during a meeting on accelerating the village economy in Merdeka Palace on Thursday.
He said he had instructed his subordinates to ensure that all social safety net programs targeting people in rural areas run effectively and on target. Among the said programs are the Family Hope Program (PKH) and the village funds program.
“Make sure that the funds are received by the COVID-19-affected villagers and those who badly need them,” the President added, as quoted by kompas.com.
The government estimates that up to 5.23 million Indonesians may lose their jobs during the pandemic, while up to 4.89 million people may fall below the poverty line as the health crisis brings economic activity to a standstill.
His administration has planned to increase spending on village fund cash assistance to Rp 31.8 trillion (US$2.14 billion) after previously allocating Rp 21.2 trillion to protect those at greater risk of falling into poverty. (vny)