President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo visits an emergency hospital for Covid-19 patients at the Athletes' Village in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, last month. (Antara Photo/Hafidz Mubarak A.)

President and Lawmakers to Give Up Holiday Bonus Amid Pandemic

BY :HARI GUNARTO, LENNY TRISTIA TAMBUN

APRIL 14, 2020

Jakarta. The president, vice president, ministers and other high-ranking officials will forgo their religious holiday salary bonus this year as part of across-the-board budget cuts to help fund the government's efforts in mitigating the Covid-19 pandemic.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo took the decision in a cabinet meeting on Tuesday and would soon issue a revision on a presidential regulation to accommodate the adjustment, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani said on Tuesday. 

"We are now in the process of revising the presidential regulation in accordance with the president's instruction," Sri Mulyani said. 

Director-generals and directors of state institutions, lawmakers, regional heads and heads of state agencies will also not receive the salary bonus.

Known locally as THR (Tunjangan Hari Raya, literally Religious Holiday Allowance), the bonus usually amounts to a one-month salary and paid to employees before their major religious holidays, such as Idul Fitri for Muslims – coming up next month, or Christmas for Christians. 

Sri Mulyani said civil servants, soldiers and officers of the Indonesian Military and the National Police will still receive their holiday bonus, though the amount will be reduced.

Last year the government paid THR that equaled the officials' basic salary plus benefits, such as family and performance allowances (Tukin).

The latter accounts for up to one-third of most civil servants' monthly take-home pay. 

This year, the performance allowance would not be included in the final bonus calculation, Sri Mulyani said. 

"Pensioners would continue to receive THR at the same amount as last year. They are a very vulnerable group [during the pandemic]," Sri Mulyani said. 

The holiday bonus cut was part of an across-the-board cut in government spending this year.

That includes a 26 percent reduction in travel budget for officials to Rp 36.6 trillion ($2.3 billion) from Rp 49.9 trillion and an Rp 8 trillion trim to spending on goods and services. 

The government will also shed Rp 41 trillion from non-priority spending.

Sri Mulyani said the government would convert some of this year's capital expenditure, around Rp 145 trillion, which were intended for infrastructure development to build roads, ports and bridges, to funding for Covid-19 mitigation.

"Around Rp 59 trillion in the capital expenditure can be converted. The process is ongoing," the minister said.  

The government has committed Rp 405 trillion in spending for three priority programs during the pandemic: healthcare, social safety net and assistance for businesses to prevent bankruptcy and layoffs.

 

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