Indonesia's social safety net programme to continue in 2021 as Covid-19 cases are surging

A women is washing her hands to help curb the spread of the coronavirus in Jakarta, on Monday (July 20). The number of coronavirus cases in Indonesia surpassed 50,000 in June, an increase that is worrying experts at a time when the government is allowing businesses to reopen amid increasing economic pressure. - AP

JAKARTA, July 20 (Xinhua): Indonesia will continue to carry out the social safety net programme next year in a bid to pare down risks of the Covid-19 pandemic and bolster the weakening buying power.

Head of the Fiscal Policy Agency of the Finance Ministry Febrio Kacaribu said on Monday that for 2021, the social safety net program will be continued.

"The amount will not be much lower than that distributed this year," he said.

This year, the government set aside a 203.99-trillion-rupiah (US$14.18 billion) fund for the social safety net program, according to him.

The cash bailout or conditional cash transfer is part of the program, with each impacted family receiving a 600,000-rupiah (some 41.72 U.S. dollars) bailout this year.

Kacaribu said that the pandemic has left more people unemployed and nearly grounded businesses to halt.

The retail sales in the country suffered an annualized 20.6-per cent fall in May and a 16.9-percent slump in April, data from the central bank's survey showed.

The annualized core inflation slipped to 2.66 per cent in June, dropping for the third straight month, from 2.87 per cent in March, data from the National Agency of Statistics noted.

The consumption represents over half of the Indonesian gross domestic product growth, which was expected to commence recovery in the third quarter.

Indonesia reported 1,639 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing the total number to 88,214 with 4,239 fatalities, spokesman for the country's Covid-19 Related Matters Achmad Yurainto said. Monday's death toll was 96.

According to him, 1,576 more people were discharged from hospitals, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 46,977.

Within the past 24 hours, seven provinces, namely Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, East Java, South Sulawesi, North Sulawesi and Gorontalo, recorded high numbers of cases, Yurianto said.

No more new cases were found in seven provinces including Jambi, Riau Islands, Bengkulu, Lampung, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan and Central Sulawesi.

Yurianto called on the public to obey the health protocols to avoid more Covid-19 infections. - Xinhua
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