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The Government’s Smart Steps to Maintain Economic Growth during the Pandemic

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by: Jumadiansyah )*

The National Economic Recovery Program (PEN) is considered a smart step by the government to maintain economic growth and in the context of restoring health during the Covid-19 pandemic. The government, through the Ministry of Finance, has also accelerated the PEN Program and provided incentives to boost the economy in the first three months of 2021.

The world has now entered the second year of the Covid-19 pandemic, in this second year the challenges have become even more difficult. This is due to the mutation of the Corona virus that continues to change until the world’s population is tired in facing the pandemic, thus ignoring health protocols.

In addition to health problems that continue to be a ghost for the community, the world economy is also not least affected. In Indonesia alone, this pandemic has caused many employees to be laid off, cut salaries, and decreased sales turnover in various economic sectors.

In responding to this pandemic problem, a number of policies have been carried out by the Central and Regional Governments, and the results can be considered quite good. The Central Statistics Agency (BPS) recorded that the Indonesian economy in the first quarter of 2021 was minus 0.74% year on year (yoy). Growth in the first three months of this year has increased when compared to last year which had contracted at minus 5%.

Economic observer at the Center of Reform on Economics (CORE) Indonesia Yusuf Rendi Manilet assessed that the government’s efforts to handle the economic recovery were on the right track (on the track). If viewed from a historical perspective, at least the comparison in the past year did show economic growth moving in a better direction.

The National Economic Recovery Program (PEN) has indeed become an important key in the recovery of both health and the economy in the first quarter of 2021. The government through the Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani has accelerated the program and provided incentives.

The PEN programs aimed at boosting the economy in the first three months of this year are as follows:
First, the acceleration of the realization of the social protection program (Perlinsos) which includes the Family Hope Program (PKH), distribution of social assistance, Cash Social Assistance (BST), Village Fund Direct Cash Assistance (BLT DD) which has realized Rp 16.59 trillion in January 2021.
Second, acceleration of budgeting and realization of Micro Business Productive Assistance (BPUM) which is targeted to be distributed in March 2021.

Third, the ministry/institutional labor-intensive program (K/L) at the Ministry of PUPR, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (KKP), and the Ministry of Transportation.
Fourth, sales tax incentives on luxury goods (PPnBM) for motorized vehicles and VAT on housing, which will be implemented in March 2021, are expected to be able to increase the demand of the middle class. Fifth, accelerate the second phase of the vaccination program to create trust in the community.

In addition to the five PEN programs, the government also provides customs facilities for the import of medical devices and vaccines in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Data from the Directorate General of Customs and Excise, Ministry of Finance, as of February 15, 2021, shows that the total customs facilities provided by the government are IDR 825.33 billion of the total import value of IDR 4.52 trillion. Then, facilities worth Rp 591.06 billion provided for the import of vaccines amounting to 29.3 million doses.

The programs mentioned above are some of the government’s strategies in order to maintain economic growth in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic which is still endemic. These government strategies and policies should be supported and appreciated, because all of these are aimed at saving our economy.

However, the government’s efforts to maintain economic growth during the current pandemic are not easy, because there are still a number of parties or groups who always oppose the Government’s smart strategies and policies. These groups are “diligent” in criticizing government programs, but there are very few solutions.

In response to this, we hope that the community will not be provoked by these groups and continue to support the economic improvement programs that have been carried out by the government in order to resolve the crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

)* The author is an activist of Nusa Press Discussions

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