Since Covid-19 Pandemic hit the country last March, there also appeared an increased number of impoverished people. BPS official data shows that in March 2020, the number of impoverished people reached 26.42 million people. In September 2019, the number reached 1.63 million people. Until this September, there has not been the newest release of poverty data, but the number of impoverished people has unquestionably increased significantly. “I believe the numbers are rising. Also, the percentage of impoverished people will certainly increase,” said UGM economist Ahmad Akbar Susamto, Ph.D., responding to the anticipation of an increase in the number of poor people due to the Covid-19 pandemic on Wednesday (14/10)
According to him, the government has issued reasonable efforts to provide various social assistance programs. However, it has not been sufficient because the amount of assistance provided is still relatively small. Besides, the number of recipient families has not all covered vulnerable low-income families. “Not less important, there should be more increase in the implementation of social support,” he explained.
Apart from social assistance to particular families, there was also compensation provided to business actors, including MSMEs. Even though there has been aid, it has not been enough, especially since the implementation of social assistance is still halting. Among the serious obstacles in distributing assistance to MSMEs, especially in ultra-micro businesses, is the absence of valid and complete data. “The problem is we do not have a name or address database that can be used as a reference,” he said.
He believes that the economic problems faced at this time arise from the Covid-19 pandemic. So, as long as the Covid-19 pandemic has not been over, economic conditions will never recover to normal. Akbar additionally demonstrated that the economic stages associated with the Covid-19 pandemic could be classified into the first three, namely the survival stage. At this stage, mitigate and minimize the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic are the best policies to do.
Second, the recovery stage. The country can enhance economic conditions towards the primary position as before the Covid-19 pandemic. Third, the regrowth stage, where we are pursuing development delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “The longer the Covid-19 pandemic persists, the longer we will be in the survival stage,” Ahmad said.
Author: Gusti Grehenson
Photo: Jakarta Post / Leo