The Jakarta Post
As the COVID-19 crisis hit every sector, the Cooperatives and Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Ministry has dispensed assistance to more than 50,000 SMEs in Garut regency, West Java.
“The assistance program is ongoing and funds are distributed via [state-owned bank] BRI to thousands of SMEs,” Garut Cooperatives and SMEs Agency head Suhartono said on Tuesday as reported by antaranews.com.
He went on to say that in the initial proposal, the agency had submitted a list of about 150,000 SMEs in the regency to the West Java administration for the program. After being verified, the provincial administration only passed on about 130,000 SMEs to the ministry.
“From about 132,000 SMEs in the provincial administration’s proposal to the ministry, 51,754 SMEs have received the assistance, transferred via BRI,” said Suhartono.
Each beneficiary receives Rp 2.4 million (US$163.94), which is distributed via bank transfer. The program aims to help the SMEs improve the economy, which has been heavily affected by the pandemic.
The assistance, which was to be distributed between August and mid-October, is part of the government’s national economic recovery program, stipulated under Government Regulation No. 23/2020.
For those who do not have bank accounts, the SMEs on the beneficiary list will receive a bank account either at BRI, BNI or Bank Syariah Mandiri prior to receiving the transfer.
Suhartono warned the SMEs to wisely use the assistance, which is expected to support them in running their businesses, and not spend it on personal expenses.
Garut carpet seller Sidqi, one of the program’s beneficiaries, said he had received the assistance. He said the funds were used to create a website and product photos to promote his business.
“It has been quite helpful as I had seen a slight increase in sales,” said Sidqi.
Previously, Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Teten Masduki said as of late September, the uptake of the capital assistance program had reached 72.46 percent.
“We’ll continue to accept proposals until we reach the target,” Teten said as quoted by kompas.com on Sept. 29.
Beneficiaries of the program must be Indonesian and own small or medium enterprises; not civil servants, members of the National Police or the Indonesian Military, not employees of state-owned or regional-owned companies and not debtors for any bank loans or the government’s microcredit program.
In late August, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo announced the government would disburse funds to support businesses.
“Starting next week, the government will disburse an emergency capital fund, or what is called productive presidential aid," Jokowi said on Aug. 19.
“We all know how the pandemic has hit hard not only the small [enterprises], but also medium and large [businesses]." (nkn)
Editor’s note: This article is part of a public campaign by the COVID-19 task force to raise people’s awareness about the pandemic.