Highlights in the media today: President plans to release presidential instruction on protocol violations, Social relief could become tool to control people’s mobility, Indonesia records Rp257.8t budget deficit in Q1 of 2020. 

President Joko Widodo said on Wednesday (July 15) that he would soon release a presidential instruction requiring each province to issue a regulation stipulating sanctions for health protocol violations.

The decision came after the relaxation of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) resulted in a significant increase in the daily number. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the daily average of new cases increased to 1,716 last week from 1,473 new cases per day in the previous week.

The president also asked all regional heads to work harder to manage the health crisis and find a balance between the economy and public health

As of July 22 16:45 (GMT+7), Indonesia had confirmed 91,751 COVID-19 cases with 50,261 recoveries and 4,459 deaths. The government had also identified 44,222 COVID-19 suspects across the country.

Social relief disbursement can become a tool to control people’s mobility, as it reduces people’s urgency and frequency in conducting economic activities outside of their homes.

However, Dika Moehammad from Indonesian People’s Struggle Union (SPRI) said on Tuesday (July 21) that about 461 families who are beneficiaries of the non-cash food assistance (BPNT) program have not received the promised assistance.

The situation has caused them to still work outside of the house and violate the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) rules. Therefore, they contribute to the province’s high mobility rate, which increases transmission risk.

Dika said that the families have reported the problem to the officials in their administrative villages and districts but have yet to receive any response. Dika suggested the central government and the regional administrations to evaluate their social relief programs.

The Indonesian government has recorded a Rp257.8 trillion budget deficit for the first half of the year as it seeks to bolster stimulus spending to cushion the impact of the pandemic. The deficit amounts to 1.57% of the country’s GDP, the highest half-year deficit recorded since the first half of 2016.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said on Monday (July 20) that the government is planning to accelerate state spending, including the disbursement of a Rp695.2 trillion stimulus package to boost the economy and strengthen the healthcare system.

While the government spending accounts for less than 10% of Indonesia’s GDP, it has a multiplier effect on various components of the economy, such as household spending and investment. According to the Finance Ministry, state spending totaled Rp1.06 quadrillion in the first half, a 3.3% increase from the same period last year and equal to 39% of this year’s target

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