A Bank Mandiri's Jakarta branch teller counts money on April 30. (B1 Photo/Mohammad Defrizal)

Indonesia to Roll Out Relief Fund for Banks to Ease Impacts from Pandemic

BY :LENNY TRISTIA TAMBUN, HERU ANDRIYANTO

MAY 12, 2020

Jakarta. The Indonesian government has issued a regulation that paves way for the disbursement of relief fund to the banking sector to help them cope with the financial impacts of the Covid-19 outbreak, which the country is still unable to clearly predict when it will reach its peak.

The regulation, which came into force on Monday, states that in its attempts speed up the economic recovery the government may channel fund to the so-called participating banks to “provide liquidity support for banks in restructuring their loans and financing and/or add capital to their loans and financing”.

According to the new regulation, a copy of which obtained by the Jakarta Globe, the “participating banks” are those with at least a 51 percent ownership by Indonesian individuals and/or Indonesian entities and among the country’s top 15 banks in terms of assets.

The regulation is issued to deal with “the threat that endangers the national economy”, a reference to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The participating banks will in turn pass the fund on to the “executing banks”, smaller banks who meet certain requirements.

President Joko Widodo has earlier urged banks to loosen their terms on debtors and restructure loans as many are unable to repay in time amid massive job losses or salary cuts due to the outbreak.

Ramp up Testing

The National Covid-19 reported 233 more confirmed cases on Monday to bring the country’s total to 14,265, including 991 deaths and 2,881 recoveries.

Task force head Doni Monardo said his team would continue to be in the dark about flattening the curve until at least 10,000 tests can be carried out on a daily basis.

Since the first cases were detected early in March, the country has conducted polymerase chain reaction-based testing on only around 116,000 people.

Doni admitted his team had been unable to meet the daily target due to a lack of equipment and lab technicians. The highest number of testing was 9,630 the team managed to produce on Friday, but it dropped to around 7,000 daily afterward. 

To increase turnouts in testing, the task force plans to hire more lab technicians and promise financial bonuses, he said.

“We have instructed all laboratories to hire more technicians. We will provide incentives for lab technicians to increase their performance,” Doni said in Jakarta on Monday.

He said laboratories should work in three shifts per day to meet the testing target, as hundreds of thousands of probable cases need to be confirmed.

“There are around 280,000 persons under surveillance and patients under observation [for suspected Covid-19 infection] that must undergo tests immediately,” Doni said.

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