Highlights in the media today: Workers question PSBB effectiveness, Police under fire for involving local gang leaders for COVID-19 law enforcement, Govt expects budget deficit to reach 5.7% of GDP, lower tax income.
Many workers in Jakarta remain doubtful that the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) would contribute much to their protection, unless there was enforcement. Under the current PSBB, workplaces in 11 essential sectors were allowed to remain open at half their office space capacity, while businesses outside these sectors must have no more than 25% of employees working at the office at any one time.
The Jakarta Manpower, Transmigration, and Energy Office Head Andri Yansyah estimated that there could be over 600,000 employees currently still working in their office spaces. Jakarta Public Order Agency Head Arifin recently said that monitoring violations of health protocols in office areas was a challenge as the agency could not regularly enter non-public spaces.
Around 3.2 million Greater Jakarta residents were commuters, according to the 2019 Greater Jakarta Commuter Survey by Statistics Indonesia (BPS). Of that figure, 2.5 million were office workers who commuted daily.
As of September 15 16:10 (GMT+7), Indonesia had confirmed 225,030 COVID-19 cases, with 161,065 recoveries and 8,965 deaths.
The National Police’s plan to involve community leaders and local gang leaders to help raise awareness about COVID-19 health protocols has been met with strong objections.
National Police Deputy Chief Commissioner General Gatot Eddy Pramono said that the proposed move was due to the limited number of police and Indonesian Military (TNI) personnel. The assistance of community and gang leaders, he argued, was needed as part of the efforts to discipline the public amid the ongoing pandemic, especially regarding mask-wearing and physical distancing measures.
Gatot said that the police would also involve motorcycle taxi groups and hobby-based communities, such as motorcycle enthusiasts. He asserted that the police and the TNI would supervise them so that they would not violate human rights.
The government now expected the fiscal deficit to reach Rp1 quadrillion or 5.7% of GDP next year. The figure was up Rp35.2 trillion from the previous estimate of 5.5% of GDP, as tax income was expected to fall further.
Finance Minister Sri Mulyani said earlier this month that the government expected a greater tax shortfall this year following its economic growth estimate. Next year, state income was expected to reach Rp1.74 quadrillion, down Rp32.7 trillion from the previous projection due to lower income from non-oil and gas taxes.
Tax income might reach Rp1.22 quadrillion next year, a drop of Rp38.9 trillion compared to the previous estimate. Sri also said on Friday (September 11) that the government would also revise macroeconomics assumptions underpinning the state budget to reflect the new reality.
Kompas, September 15, 2020, Indonesia confirms 225,030 COVID-19 cases
The Jakarta Post, September 15, 2020, p.1, Workers question PSBB effectiveness
Kompas, September 15, 2020, p.1,15, Strict enforcement, tracing during PSBB determine success
The Jakarta Post, September 15, 2020, p.4, Police clarify use of gangs in health role
The Jakarta Post, September 15, 2020, p.5, Deficit to reach 5.7% of GDP as uncertainty hits tax revenue