President highlights COVID-19 budget absorption not yet optimal

Jakarta (ANTARA) – President Joko Widodo called for policy breakthroughs since budget realization for handling COVID-19 and the National Economic Recovery (PEN) reached 19 percent, or Rp136 trillion of Rp695 trillion in the 2020 draft state budget (APBN-P).

“Absorption of the COVID-19 stimulus is yet not optimal, and the speed is still lacking,” the president stated during an online limited meeting from the Merdeka Palace, Jakarta, Monday, on directives to the Committee on Handling PEN and COVID-19.

The president called on the Committee of COVID-19 Handling Committee and National Economic Recovery to issue breakthrough steps to facilitate faster working.

“This to address the problem I had mentioned earlier of the budget absorption not yet being optimal,” the president pointed out.

Of the Rp136-trillion budget for handling COVID-19 and PEN that was realized, the head of state explained that realization of the budget for social protection programs had reached 38 percent, while the realization of stimulus to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) touched merely 25 percent. The realization of the recovery program at MSMEs included the placement of funds in four state banks to loosen liquidity.

Realization of the health management budget touched only seven percent, while realization of the budget for sectoral programs and local governments reached just 6.5 percent, and the realization of new business incentives at 13 percent.

The head of state pressed for immediately tackling all obstacles in expediting the disbursement of the budget.

“If it is indeed regulated, the revised regulation will be accelerated immediately. Make shortcuts and improvements as well as avoid sectoral and regional egos,” he stated.

The head of state also reminded his ranks to make additional efforts and to fully comprehend the economic and health crises currently encumbering the country.

Source: Antara News