A banner declaring a local lockdown at a village gate in Boyolali, Central Java, last week. (Antara Photo/Aloysius Jarot Nugroho)

Village Fund to Be Disbursed Through Three Priority Programs During Coronavirus Crisis

BY :DIANA MARISKA

APRIL 22, 2020

Jakarta. The Village, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration Ministry will prioritize volunteer programs, cash-funded labor-intensive programs and cash aid programs for the government's Village Fund during the coronavirus crisis.

The Village Fund is a discretionary fund transferred directly to urban wards and villages across Indonesia. Each urban ward or village receives Rp 1 billion ($64,300) in cash to be spent as they see fit. 

But a cash-strapped central government faced with an uphill climb to keep a pandemic under control is now looking to shift some of its spendings to Covid-19 mitigation programs. 

Minister Abdul Halim Iskandar said the government would form volunteer groups at village level whose job is mainly to educate the public about the pandemic.

"We have issued a circular ordering villages to find volunteers who will work in consultation with local health authorities," Abdul said in a statement on Wednesday after a teleconference with the House of Representatives' Commission V.

Abdul said more than 40,000 villages in Indonesia have already formed the volunteer groups, and more than a million people have been listed.

Some of the Village Fund will also be spent on cash-funded labor-intensive programs (PKTD) as the government anticipated rising unemployment during the pandemic.

Low-skilled laborers can take part in the programs, Abdul said. The PKTD mainly targets low-income families, the unemployed and partially-unemployed individuals and other marginal groups.

The government will pay them a daily wage and follow strict health protocols at the job site.

Last week, the Public Works and Housing Ministry announced it had allocated a budget of Rp 10 trillion for the programs.

Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono said one of the developments being done under the program is a small-scale irrigation project that was going to need 70–80 workers to complete.

Under the program, two teams, each comprising 40 people, are now working in shifts on the project. 

The last Village Fund program is a cash aid for low-income families not eligible for the Social Ministry's Program Keluarga Harapan and non-cash aid benefits, and who are not registered with the pre-employment card unemployment benefits program.

Each household will receive Rp 600,000 a month for the next three months from this program. Village volunteers will help verify eligible families for the program.

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