BLT and BSU Boost People’s Purchasing Power
By Saiful Anwar )*
The adjustment of the price of fuel oil (BBM) has an impact on most people in Indonesia, and to deal with this, the government has issued a program of direct cash assistance (BLT) and wage subsidies (BSU) to boost people’s purchasing power. BLT and BSU become social cushions for the community, especially with the increase in the price of basic necessities.
The Advisory Council as well as a senior researcher at the Center for Islamic and Community Studies (PPIM) UIN, Prof. Ali Munhanif said that the adjustment to the fuel price hike was due to diverting subsidies to infrastructure development, building better education and health. Given that BBM can make people complacent and far from being independent. In addition, the subsidized fuel also did not meet the expected target. Infrastructure development aims to equalize prices in each region.
On the same occasion, Economic Observer at Muhammadiyah University, Surya Vandiantara, said that there was often a misperception as if the fuel subsidy was replaced by BLT. Whereas BLT is a stimulus to stimulate economic growth, which was originally a consumptive need to become productive. The main key in improving the economy is improving people’s productivity by diverting the fuel subsidy budget.
On the other hand, the Deputy Chairperson of the DKI Jakarta Nahdlatul Ulama Regional Management (PWNU), KH Lutfi Hakim assessed that if the fuel subsidy was revoked, the community would find it difficult to meet their basic needs, and it could lead to a lack of public purchasing power so that efficiency would occur which would result in layoffs. employees to be carried out by the company.
He also said that BLT can only be obtained by the community in a few months, while the impact of rising fuel prices can be felt by the community for years. For this reason, the government must carry out strict supervision related to fuel subsidies.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo said that the total recipients of BLT for the transfer of fuel subsidies throughout Indonesia had reached 20.6 million. He also hopes that the distribution of BLT can improve public consumption.
On a different occasion, Economist of the Center of Reform on Economic (Core) Indonesia Yusuf Rendy Manilet said that the BBM BLT program was deemed capable of maintaining people’s purchasing power.
Yusuf considered that based on the program that was launched, it was indeed a BLT-like program that was successful in the context of maintaining people’s purchasing power, especially for the lower income group.
He said that the assistance has the potential to have an impact in the context of maintaining the purchasing power of the lower income group. It’s just that when talking about the impact of course it is also necessary to see how the impact of the price increase as a result of this fuel policy can affect not only the lower income group but also the middle income group.
With regard to the aid that will be right on target or not, he assessed that learning from the experience of distributing similar assistance, of course there will be errors in the distribution at this stage.
However, with reference to the new updated data, of course the errors that occur can be minimized to a smaller level. So that this assistance is expected to be more targeted when compared to the distribution of similar assistance last year or two years ago when the COVID-19 pandemic began.
The transfer of fuel subsidies to BLT is a fair step for the poor. This is because, so far, almost 70% of the fuel subsidy is not on target and this makes the state budget unhealthy due to the swelling of the subsidy budget.
Economics expert at Atma Jaya Unika, Rosdiana Sijabat, assessed that the government’s decision to shift the fuel subsidy to social assistance and BLT must be accepted because the fuel subsidy has swelled and is not good for the health of the state budget in the future. That is, whether you like it or not, the fuel price adjustment must be accepted, this is aimed at keeping the state budget healthy.
He said that the government must have an easy, transparent and multilevel reporting mechanism so that it can supervise the distribution of aid properly and not misdirected. In addition, it is also necessary to involve law enforcement officers so that the distribution of aid can run well and on target.
Main Analysis of Economics and Politics, Reyhan Noor stated that BLT BBM was effective because the target recipients were clearer. The government has a database to provide BLT. To secure future policy sustainability, the strategy is to provide BLT BBM and secure food supplies.
This shows that BLT BBM can be said to be effective because it can ease the burden on the poor. The adjustment of fuel prices of course makes them have to think again before shopping, because the prices of goods also change. However, when BLT BBM is given, they can spend it and stock up on basic needs and food items that are needed by the family.
BLT and BSU are programs from the government that aim to give the lower class people purchasing power to meet their needs in the midst of rising prices for basic commodities.
)* The author is a contributor to Persada Institute