26 September 2023

INDONESIA: Pandemic aid tied up in red tape

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Concerns are emerging in Indonesia that bureaucratic red tape is hindering distribution of the Government’s Rp110 trillion ($A12 billion) social safety net programs to the most vulnerable members of society.

Under the Ministry of Social Affairs’ Integrated Data of Social Welfare (DTKS), which provides Government aid, bank transfers of Rp600,000 ($A60) per month for three months will be available for nine million people outside of the Greater Jakarta area.

Eligible Greater Jakarta residents will get the same amount in the form of staple food packages.

However, to be included in a DTKS database, a recipient must submit documents that will have to be verified through various administrative layers, a process that may vary in length.

Some people, who submitted their data in normal times, said the process could take up to two years.

Siti Fatimah (25) a contract-based elementary school teacher says the COVID-19 pandemic had nearly wiped out her extra earnings from the family’s small phone credit business.

Her family had taken out loans to survive, even though they might be eligible for the Government’s aid.

“I don’t really understand the DTKS system,” Ms Siti said.

“My family and I, even the people living in my area, were never taught how it works.”

Economist, Vivi Alatas (pictured) said the Government would not be able to collect data to distribute aid for the millions of people by solely relying on DTKS data.

“DTKS data is a database of poor and vulnerable families. There may not be a lot of them in Greater Jakarta, compared to other regions, but they are the most affected,” Dr Vivi said.

She suggested an on-demand application system for individual households requiring help.

“The most important thing is to keep the people at home without them having to suffer,” Dr Vivi said.

Jakarta, 13 April 2020

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