COVID-19 Pandemic; Workers, SMEs to Receive Rp5 Million Aid

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Laila Afifa

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The government will provide aid in cash transfers, or Bantuan Langsung Tunai (BLT), up to Rp5 million for formal and informal workers as well as Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), in a bid to reduce the number of layoffs and to dampen the economic impact hitting the informal sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    "The government is committed to providing BLT for formal and informal workers," said Secretary of the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Susiwijono, in an online press conference with the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) in Jakarta, on Thursday, March 26.

    The government collaborates with BP Jamsostek social security program to distrubute the cash aid for formal workers. They will get up to Rp1 million per person, plus an additional incentive of Rp1 million every four months, totalling to Rp5 million. However, Susiwijono has yet to explain the requirements for formal workers to be eligible for this assistance.

    Meanwhile, the government will utilize the pre-employment card program to distribute the aid for informal workers and SMEs. According to Susi, the pre-employment card, initially geared for vocational development programs for job seekers, will be shifted to become a social safety net.

    Currently, the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs has proposed the same allocation as formal workers for the informal workers. 

    Aside from the BLT for workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic economic impacts, Susiwijono continued, the government is also currently preparing a special credit facility with low interest rates for companies to maintain their cash flow. 

    "The prerequisite (for the special credit facility) is that companies cannot do layoffs, or the company is able to maintain 90 percent of their employees with unchanging salaries," he added.

    FAJAR PEBRIANTO | DIO SUHENDA (Intern Translator)