Finance Minister Offers Insight into Massive Covid Relief Funds
Jakarta. Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati uses a simple presentation to provide some insight into the massive health spending related to Covid-19 on Monday.
The government has allocated Rp 130 trillion ($ 8.9 billion) to finance vaccine procurement, diagnostic testing, Covid-19 patient hospitalization and incentives for health workers, Sri Mulyani wrote on her Facebook account.
“This is a pretty big sum of money. This amount is equivalent to the budget to build 9,352 kilometers of roads, or 293,222 meters of bridges or 67,708 school buildings,” the minister said.
“It demonstrates government’s seriousness in dealing with the Covid-19 outbreak which threatens not only people’s lives but also Indonesian development program.”
The emergency health spending is part of government’s Covid-related relief fund totaling nearly Rp 700 trillion to support economic recovery measures, provide incentives for businesses and deliver social aids to the poor.
Earlier this month, the former World Bank managing director said the pandemic has put pressure on the state budget, which last year plunged into a 6 percent deficit.
“We want more than just economic recovery, we want to emerge stronger after Covid-19,” she said.
Her office has projected that Indonesia's economy would still contract by 1 percent to 0.1 percent in the first quarter this year.
The economy is expected to pick up growth in the second quarter, with President Joko Widodo expecting a record 7 percent in comparison to the previous quarter.
Southeast Asia’s biggest economy contracted by 2.07 percent last year amid devastating economic impact of the global pandemic.
The International Monetary Fund has lowered its growth projection for Indonesia to 4.3 percent this year from its January forecast of 4.8 percent, but kept the 5.8 percent estimation for next year.