COVID-19: ‘People don’t need to stockpile everyday items’, Jokowi says amid panic buying spree

first_imgDemand for face masks has also surged in Blitar regency, East Java.”We already put up a sign telling customers that we don’t have any face masks but they keep asking anyway,” drugstore employee Lina Sugianti told the Post on Tuesday. Lina said the drugstore had not been able to replenish its face mask stocks for a month and a half due to consumers bulk buying the masks for their relatives who are migrant workers in countries hit by the coronavirus outbreak such as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore. The Indonesian Retailers Association (Aprindo) and Indonesian Shopping Centers Tenants Association (Hippindo) issued statements on Monday to assure their members’ that food and non-food supplies would be more than sufficient to fulfill regular demand and that they had also taken certain measures to ensure a constant supply in the case of prolonged panic. (nor)Topics : “People don’t need to stockpile everyday items,” he said at a press conference at the State Palace in Central Jakarta on Tuesday. “If anything, what makes such items rare is bulk buying.”People began panic buying everyday goods, ranging from instant noodles to antiseptic wipes, on Monday afternoon after Jokowi announced the country’s first two confirmed COVID-19 cases. The patients, a 64-year-old woman and her 31-year-old daughter, are currently being treated at Sulianti Saroso Infectious Diseases Hospital (RSPI Sulianti Saroso) in Jakarta.There have been also been reports of thinning face mask supplies at drugstores around the country. Menita, a storekeeper at Agung Raya drugstore in Manado, North Sulawesi told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday that her store had doubled the price of face masks to Rp 4,000 (28 US Cents) a piece and capped sales to three pieces per customer. She said that her store raised prices because distributors had also raised prices to Rp 500,000 per box of 50 face masks. “There are residents who bulk buy face masks to send to their family members in Jakarta, because they said that there aren’t any face masks there. We have been sold out of face masks since this morning,” Menita said.center_img President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has spoken out against hoarding as people across the country go on panic buying sprees following the announcement of Indonesia’s first two confirmed COVID-19 cases.Jokowi said the government and the private sector had enough food and non-food stocks, including around 50 million face masks, to meet public demand. The President has also instructed the National Police chief to crack down on individuals hoarding and reselling face masks.last_img read more

From foe to friend, ministry commits to fare hike for ‘ojol’ drivers in Greater Jakarta

first_imgTopics : “This [fare hike] is to accommodate the drivers’ aspirations,” said land transportation director general Budi Setyadi. Drivers’ demand for higher fares was based on the minimum wage hike and increasing living cost in Greater Jakarta, as well as the prevailing ministerial decree that stipulated a quarterly fare evaluation.”The decision has been made through discussions with other parties, including the YLKI, [ride-hailing] companies and [relevant] associations,” he said, referring to the Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI).Read also: Ministry mulls over ‘ojol’ drivers’ demand for fare increase in Greater JakartaAside from e-commerce and online travel services, the ride-hailing sector has contributed the most to Indonesia’s flourishing digital economy with US$6 billion in 2019, according to the e-Conomy SEA 2019 report by Google, Temasek and Bain & Company. The figure posts growth of 57 percent from $900 million in 2015. The Transportation Ministry announced on Tuesday its plans to increase the fare pricing for ride-hailing ojek (motorcycle taxis) in Greater Jakarta, with the new fares to become effective on March 16.The ministry’s move comes in response to the ojol (ojek online) drivers’ demands to help them meet the rising cost of living in the capital city and surrounding areas.The new fare pricing sets a per kilometer floor price of Rp 2,250, up from Rp 2,000 previously, and a per kilometer ceiling price of Rp 2,650, up from Rp 2,500. The policy also fixes the base fare for the first 4 kilometers to between Rp 9,000 and Rp 10,500 depending on the service, from between Rp 8,000 and Rp 10,000 previously.center_img While the ministry’s new policy increases the fare pricing for Greater Jakarta, which is designated as Zone 2, it maintains the current pricing for Zones 1 and 3. The fare pricing for Zone 1 (Sumatra, Bali and Java, excluding Greater Jakarta) is to retain a per km floor price of Rp 1,850 and per km ceiling price of Rp 2,300, while the fare pricing for Zone 3 (Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara, Maluku and Papua) is respectively Rp 2,100 and Rp 2,600.The fixed base fare for both zones is between Rp 7,000 and Rp 10,000, depending on the service.“From our discussions with the ojol drivers association, the call for a fare increase comes from [the drivers] in Greater Jakarta. Meanwhile, based on our discussions with [the drivers] in several regencies and cities in East Java and Central Java, they are fine with the current rate,” said Budi. The Two-Wheeled Action Movement (Garda), which represents ojol drivers, said that the new fare policy met the drivers’ demand.“Garda accepts the regulator’s decision. It is in line with our calculations, which we have communicated to the Transportation Ministry,” said Garda chief Igun Wicaksono. Read also: Digital economy reaches new highs in 2019 despite skills gap, cyberattack issuesYLKI chairman Tulus Abadi, however, criticized the ministry for issuing the new pricing policy solely in response to a demand from the drivers, emphasizing that public policy must be based on the needs of the general public in their entirety. In keeping with the higher fares, Tulus also called on ride-hailing companies Gojek Indonesia and Grab Indonesia to improve their safety standards.as well as the services that their driver partners provided.“In the early days of ojol, drivers were equipped with face masks and hair covers, but these are no longer [provided] now. Especially amid the current issue of the coronavirus outbreak, it is possible that ojol drivers could become a medium of [infection]” he added, stressing that the drivers must adhere to the principles of consumer protection.Tulus also highlighted the poor safety record among ojol drivers and their low compliance with road rules. Separately, Grab and Gojek agreed to implement the new fare pricing, and promised to inform both drivers and users about the new policy.“It is also our job to monitor the impact this new policy will have on consumers, because it will definitely spark a public reaction,” said Grab Indonesia’s head of public affairs, Tri Sukma Anreianno. Meanwhile, Gojek Indonesia’s chief of public policy and government relations, Shinto Nugroho, expected a decrease in customer demand following the fare hike.However, she expressed hope that the decline would be relatively insignificant, noting that the company’s present focus was “long-term sustainability for both drivers and passengers”.last_img read more

Indonesian cruise crew arrives in Bali from virus-hit Italy, tests negative for COVID-19

first_imgA total of 316 Indonesian crew members of the MSC Splendida cruise ship from Genoa, Italy, have been repatriated to Indonesia from the coronavirus-hit European country and arrived in Bali’s provincial capital of Denpasar on Monday.Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry said that the crew members, who returned home on Qatar Airways, had undergone health tests prior to their departure and they had not shown any symptoms of COVID-19.”During the whole repatriation process, the government through the Indonesian Embassy in Rome has engaged in intense communication with the crew members to ensure their conditions,” the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.Bali Manpower Agency head Ida Bagus Ngurah Arda confirmed that the Indonesian crew members had arrived at Bali’s I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport on Monday evening.They had their body temperatures checked as soon as they arrived at the airport and had their blood samples taken for COVID-19 rapid tests by the airport’s health authorities, he said.”The results came out negative,” Arda said on Monday.The 316 crew members would not be put into medical isolation, but he said they were required to undergo self-quarantine.Bali Airport Authority head Elfi Amir also confirmed that the 316 crew members of the MSC Splendida had undergone medical tests in Genoa and had been cleared to return home before departing for Bali, kompas.com reported.Read also: COVID-19: Indonesia steps up measures to anticipate influx of migrant workers returning homeItaly is now the country hardest-hit by the COVID-19 coronavirus in terms of deaths from the disease, with more than a third of global COVID-19 fatalities: 12,428 deaths. The European country recorded 105,792 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.Prior to the crew members’ arrival, Arda said that Bali Governor I Wayan Koster had requested Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi to tell Indonesian missions abroad to do health checks, as well as swab tests, on Indonesian migrant workers who were to be repatriated from other countries to ensure they were not infected by the coronavirus.Only those who tested negative and healthy were therefore allowed to return to Indonesia, including to Bali, while those who tested positive or were suspected of having been infected should first be treated in the country where they had worked.Arda said that even though the returning migrant workers had brought health certificates and had not shown any fevers, Balinese authorities would take their blood samples for COVID-19 rapid tests as precautionary measures.”This is our effort to reduce any risk of further COVID-19 spread into Indonesia and Bali,” he said.Bali, which has seen its tourism industry reduced to shambles by the COVID-19 outbreak, has recorded some 25 cases, with two fatalities as of Wednesday afternoon.The Southeast Asian country itself has recorded some 1,677 COVID-19-positive cases across the archipelago, with 157 cases that turned fatal.More Indonesian migrant workers, including crew members of foreign cruise ships, were expected to return home in the coming days as the Indonesian Foreign Ministry said it was in the process of repatriating them.”The government, in cooperation with companies in charge of recruiting ship crew members, is set to repatriate other crewmen in the near future,” the ministry said.Topics :last_img read more

Can we take motorcycle taxis? Clashing regulations leave passengers confused

first_imgDjoko also questioned how the Transportation Ministry could monitor and ensure all app-based ojek drivers and passengers complied with the health protocols. “On a practical level, who is going to monitor whether the health protocols are being followed by the drivers and passengers? How will the temperatures of drivers and passengers be checked?” he said. “On a practical level, this regulation is hard to monitor.”Public policy observer Agus Pambagio also highlighted the inconsistencies in the regulations, and argued that permitting ojek drivers to carry passengers would undermine the effectiveness of the large-scale social restrictions. “COVID-19 will continue to spread if passengers are allowed to be transported using two-wheel vehicles, both for commercial and personal purposes. Thus, I beg the Transportation Ministry to revoke or revise ministerial regulation No.18/2020, as soon as possible,” said Agus.  Tulus Abadi, the chairman of the Indonesia Consumers Foundation (YLKI), also called on the government to scrap or revise the regulation on the grounds that it did not take into account the safety and security of customers during the pandemic. Responding to the criticism and confusion, the Transportation Ministry held an online press conference on Sunday. Spokesperson Adita Irawaty said the ministry maintained the point stated in the regulation that motorcycles could still be used to transport passengers, both for personal or commercial reasons, so long as health protocols were followed. “However, we will monitor the situation in the field and may evaluate and make changes to the regulation,” said Adita. Ride-hailing service providers such as Gojek and Grab disabled their ojek services on Friday in Jakarta, the first day of PSBB implementation in the capital. Gojek chief of corporate affairs Nila Marita said the company welcomed the Transportation Ministry regulation and is waiting for the regulation to come into effect to make adjustments. “The issuance of the regulation will help people to travel and do [certain] activities that are still allowed under the PSBB terms. On the other hand, it can also help our driver partners to maintain their income to support their families,” said Nila on Monday. Gojek has provided its driver partners in Greater Jakarta and other cities with health equipment packages.Grab Indonesia’s head of public affairs Tri Sukma Anreianno said that company was making preparations to ensure its driver partners were ready to comply with the health protocols stipulated in the Transportation Ministry regulation once it was implemented.“We are still waiting for the regulation to be officially implemented. On behalf of our driver partners, we want to thank the government for listening to our input and our drivers’ input regarding the regulation,” he said.Topics : “According to Health Ministerial Regulation No.9/2020 on PSBB guidelines, app-based ojek drivers can only transport goods, not passengers,” said Djoko Setijowarno, a transportation observer from the Indonesia Transportation Society (MTI) on Sunday. The Transportation Ministry regulation also contradicts Jakarta Gubernatorial Regulation No.33/2020 on PSBB status, which permits app-based ojek to transport goods only, he added. Incoherent regulations have left law enforcement officers, transportation operators and the public confused about whether ojek drivers are still permitted to transport passengers during the two-week PSBB period in Jakarta, which started on April 10. PSBB status will be enforced in Jakarta’s satellite cities of Bogor, Depok and Bekasi in West Java beginning April 15. The government’s guidelines on transportation controls during the implementation of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) to contain COVID-19 have sparked criticism for being ambiguous and clashing with other regulations, leaving many confused.On April 9, the Transportation Ministry issued ministerial regulation No.18/2020 on transportation controls to slow the spread of COVID-19. Among other things, it allows app-based ojek (motorcycle taxi) drivers to serve passengers, so long as they comply with health protocols, which include wearing masks and gloves, disinfecting vehicles before and after use and not driving when not feeling well.Civil groups and politicians were quick to lambast the regulation, signed by acting Transportation Minister Luhut Pandjaitan, as it clashes with Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto’s regulation on PSBB guidelines, meaning enforcement will be challenging.last_img read more

State-owned banks restructure $1.84b in loans to soften COVID-19 impacts

first_imgThe latest OJK data shows that BRI has restructured a total of Rp 14.9 trillion of loans from 134,258 debtors, while Bank Mandiri has granted requests of 10,592 debtors to restructure loans amounting to Rp 4.1 trillion. BNI, meanwhile, has restructured a Rp 6.9 trillion in loans from 6,238 debtors.As the pandemic has yet to show signs of slowing down in Indonesia, Nixon said the bank was revising down its loan growth target for this year.The bank now expects its nonsubsidized and commercial mortgage loans to grow around zero percent to 3 percent this year, while issuance of subsidized mortgage loans was expected to grow by 6 percent to 8 percent, depending on when the pandemic would end.Read also: Local banks offer relief to help borrowers and themselves in COVID crisisBTN’s reduced loan growth target also took into account a decline in new loan applications all over Indonesia due to the spread of the coronavirus in the country, Nixon said.Despite the sluggish loan growth, BTN was still optimistic it would book Rp 2 trillion in profit this year, significantly higher than 2019’s profit of Rp 209.26 billion.“In a situation like today, we choose to increase efficiency and strengthen our provision and liquidity to survive,” said Nixon.Topics : State-owned banks have collectively restructured almost Rp 29 trillion (US$1.84 billion) in loans as the COVID-19 pandemic hampers economic activities and weakens debtors’ ability to repay their debts.All four state-owned banks, namely Bank Tabungan Negara (BTN), Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI), Bank Mandiri and Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI), have restructured their debtors’ loans following a new Financial Services Authority (OJK) rule that relaxes debt quality assessment and restructuring requirements for debtors hit by the pandemic. BTN finance, planning and treasury director Nixon Napitupulu said in a statement on Sunday that the mortgage-focused bank had restructured loans of more than 17,000 of almost 2 million debtors totaling Rp 2.7 trillion.Read also: COVID-19 batters Indonesia’s loan growth to record low“The restructured debts include subsidized mortgage loans below Rp 10 billion in accordance with OJK rules,” he said in a statement.Other state-owned banks also approved debtors’ requests for loan restructuring.last_img read more

Telecom companies ask for deferred payments amid economic downturn

first_imgIn the application letter, the association asked for a deferral in the payment for telecommunication services fees (BHP) and universal service obligation (USO), the association’s chairman Arif Angg said in Jakarta on Thursday.“We usually pay the BHP and USO fees in April. However, we are facing declining revenues from the corporate sector, while we also have to pay corporate income taxes [PPh badan] and Idul Fitri bonuses [THR] to our employees,” Arif told The Jakarta Post on a phone interview.He said the corporate market, which represents a huge chunk of telecommunications companies’ revenues, had declined by 30 to 35 percent by mid-April. Its broadband traffic also declined by 60 percent compared to normal conditions, according to Apjatel’s data.“The demand from retail market customers has increased 10 to 15 percent, but it cannot cover our losses from the corporate market. The corporate sector is our bread and butter,” Arif said. Like other business sectors, telecommunications companies are also asking for a relief program from the government to cope with a sharp decline in revenues as a result of the government’s distancing policy, which among others, requires people to work from home.Telecommunications providers are asking the Communications and Information Ministry to defer the payment of their non-tax obligation as internet usage from the corporate sector dwindles due to the government’s social distancing policy imposed since mid-March to halt the spread of COVID-19.The Telecommunications Network Providers Association (Apjatel) has sent a letter to Communications and Information Minister Johnny G. Plate to officially request for financial relief to help members stay afloat. Internet service provider Biznet echoed Apjaki’s statement, saying that its revenue had been affected by office and industry closures, as the corporate market makes up 80 percent of the company’s source of revenue.“We started to see a decline in early March. That’s when the hotels, industries and offices started to shut down their operation and their internet usage,” Biznet’s president director Adi Kusma said in a phone interview without disclosing the decline.Besides the loss of revenues, internet providers also claimed that they are suffering from the weakening rupiah, as companies must import equipment to maintain their network bandwidth.“The demand from retail users increases, but we have to increase our spending to purchase bandwidth expansion for new customers. The rise in the  US dollar has put us in a difficult position,” Arif said.According to Bloomberg data, the local currency is currently trading at 15,640 per US dollar. It has depreciated by about 12 percent since the beginning of the year.Seeing providers’ revenue decline, Apjatel filed a request to the ministry for a 12-month USO and BHP payment deferral and waiver for late payment fees.According to the letter obtained by the Post, Apjatel bases its request on Article 62 of Law No.9/2018 regarding the collection of non-tax revenue (PNBP), which stipulates companies are allowed to ask for payment deferrals if they suffer business problems due to certain conditions.“In this difficult time, we hope that businesses and the government can work together to dampen the economic downturn. If the business sector goes well, companies can hire more people, while the government could raise taxes in the future,” Adi said.Telecommunications network providers in the country recorded a surge in internet traffic and data communication after the government instructed people to work, study and pray from home.Cellular operator Telkomsel, recorded a 5 percent surge in data services after March 15. The company also saw a 10.4 percent increase in traffic for cloud computing services, 7.5 percent increase in digital advertising, 7.3 percent increase in streaming services and 5.2 percent in browser services.Other telecommunications operators like PT XL Axiata also recorded a 15 percent traffic increase from March 16 to 20.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Unborn baby dies in NTT after ambulance gets stuck in roadblock traffic jam

first_imgYohannes’s wife was initially admitted to Larantuka General Hospital in East Flores regency but was referred to TC Hillers due to insufficient medical equipment.Transportation agency secretary Ferdinandus Lepe in Hikong village, Sikka regency said the roadblock was erected after a quibble.The village administration blocked off the road on Saturday after East Flores COVID-19 task force officers banned people from entering Boru village, situated on the other side of the border.Ferdinandus said the ambulance was allowed to pass after the midwives reported the situation to officers. “[After being informed about the situation], I ordered the head of Hikong village and residents to immediately dismantle the roadblock so the ambulance could pass,” he said.Read also: Dengue fever infects more than 4,500 people, kills 48 in East Nusa TenggaraHe added that the roadblock had been permanently dismantled since Saturday night after a meeting between East Flores and Sikka regents.Hikong village head Agustinus denied the ambulance was stuck in the traffic jam for around one hour. “The ambulance was at the end of the traffic jam so it should have only needed around 15 minutes to get through. The ambulance was only stuck for 15 minutes,” Agustinus told kompas.tv on Monday. According to Health Ministry data, East Nusa Tenggara has recorded 82 COVID-19 positive cases as of Monday, with one fatality and six recoveries. (mfp) Topics : The ambulance then rushed to Dr. TC Hillers General Hospital in Sikka regency, around 73-kilometers from the border. However, the baby did not survive. “If we weren’t stuck at the border, our baby would still be alive. Our baby died in the emergency room,” Yohannes said, adding that his wife was healthy and still being treated at the hospital after surgery.Read also: East Nusa Tenggara to close border with Timor Leste over coronavirus fearsHe said ambulances should not be blocked while carrying patients. “I’ve accepted the death of my baby. Maybe this is God’s plan for us,” he went on to say. An unborn baby died in East Nusa Tenggara after the ambulance carrying the baby’s mother got stuck in a traffic jam where a roadblock had been placed at the border between East Flores regency and  Sikka regency.Yohanes Diaz, the baby’s father, said the ambulance was stuck for around one hour on Saturday, during which the mother started bleeding.“[After waiting an hour], the two midwives that were with us got out of the ambulance to ask permission so that we could pass and we were finally allowed to,” He said as quoted by tribunnews.com on Monday.last_img read more

NBA, MLB, NFL union bosses expect returns but none set

first_imgNBA, NFL and Major League Baseball players union leaders say it’s likely the leagues they deal with will return in some fashion this year after being shut down for the coronavirus pandemic.But nothing is settled for any of the three biggest North American sports leagues and “certainty” on safety issues remains a major concern for those who will risk their health to play while trying to avoid contracting the virus.NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith, National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts and MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark expressed confidence in a conference call with HBO for interviews airing Thursday. The NBA, whose players are conducting individual workouts at team facilities where allowed, is exploring a plan to resume the season in late July at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, although final details have yet to be determined.Roberts plans to speak with players from every team before the end of May.”Our guys need to know,” Roberts said. “Certainty will be good. But the players really want to play.”The MLBPA’s Clark had more confidence than his counterparts but still needed answers to some major issues.”I remain optimistic,” Clark said. “We don’t know everything we want to know and how things are continuing to change, but I do remain optimistic we’ll get back out there and play.” Asked to rank the chances for leagues to return in 2020 from 1-10 with 10 being certain of a comeback, Clark gave the MLB’s chances an 8 1/2 with Roberts saying 6 for the NBA and Smith giving the NFL a 6-7 range.”It was probably an eight last week,” Roberts said when the session was staged last Thursday. “I’ve gotten some recent concerns expressed by players now that babies [and] children have been infected, so heightened concerns have come into the conversation.”Roberts told ESPN in a report Tuesday that NBA players overwhelmingly want to resume the season but “need some level of certainty” regarding COID-19 safeguard issues.”It’s time,” Roberts told ESPN. “It has been 2 1/2 months of ‘What if?’ My players need some level of certainty. I think everybody does.” NFLPA eyes other unions The NFL has announced a full schedule to commence September 10 but all eyes will be on what moves the other leagues and unions make before the NFL is scheduled to launch its season.Smith said the NFL’s chances of playing could hinge on how other sports perform. “A lot depends on what happens with the other sports. And to say that we aren’t looking at what’s going to be happening in basketball and baseball… I’d be lying to you if we’re not,” he said.NBA team owners plan a conference call Friday that could reveal more details about COVID-19 safeguards and a full return plan.Roberts said the union would not necessarily need to vote upon any comeback strategy from the league.”If we thought we needed a vote, we would,” Roberts said. “But our preferred method is talking to people or just having them talk to us. Then if we get a sense of what the sentiment is, then we can move forward. We talk to our players and figure it out.” Topics :last_img read more

Indonesia’s debt to swell further in 2021 to finance economic recovery

first_imgThe government has relaxed the state budget deficit ceiling of 3 percent of GDP, a cap introduced after the 1998 Asian financial crisis, which has never before been exceeded. The government has chosen to exceed the limit to fight the health, social and economic impacts of the pandemic.However, the law that has allowed the government to circumvent the ceiling stipulates that the government must reinstate the 3 percent cap by 2023.“Our fiscal policy for next year is speeding up economic recovery and strengthening sectoral reforms to prevent us from falling into the middle-income trap,” Febrio said.The government expects the economy to grow between 4.5 percent and 5.5 percent in 2021 and projects this year’s growth will hover between 2.3 percent and negative 0.4 percent. Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, however, said this year’s growth looked more likely to be within the range of zero to 1 percent as the second-quarter economy was projected to shrink by 3.1 percent.Read also: U-shape economic recovery to take place until Q1 of 2021: BataviaIndonesia booked its lowest GDP growth in 19 years in the first quarter: 2.97 percent. The coronavirus outbreak forced people to stay at home, disrupting business and economic activity.Fitch Ratings director for sovereigns and supranationals Thomas Rookmaker expected Indonesia’s government debt ratio to swell to 38 percent by the end of the year, adding that it would still be below the BBB rating peer median of 53 percent of GDP.”A rapid increase in public debt resulting from rising budget deficits is a negative rating sensibility from our last review when we affirmed Indonesia’s rating at BBB with a stable outlook, but that was before the coronavirus pandemic,” Rookmaker told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday. The key question from a ratings perspective is how the government will use the fiscal space and what impact it will have on Indonesia’s medium-term public finances, he said.”Indonesia has a policy record of fiscal prudence supported by the political spectrum. This gives credibility to the authorities to return public finance back to their pre-crisis track and could be supportive of the rating,” Rookmaker stated.Read also: GDP to contract by 3.1% in Q2 on COVID-19 headwindsWorld Bank senior economist for Indonesia Ralph van Doorn said last month that the country’s debt would rise to 37 percent of GDP this year, driven by an increase in borrowing to cover for the widening budget deficit and to cope with the economic slowdown and rupiah exchange rate depreciation.“Indonesia must maintain its hard-earned market confidence, which can be lost very easily, as credit rating agencies have signaled concerns [about debts] in the medium term,” Van Doorn said.“It must reinstate the deficit ceiling and end Bank Indonesia’s partial financing of the deficit” after the virus threat subsides, he added.Topics : The government expects the budget deficit to reach 6.34 percent of GDP this year to cover a Rp 695.2 trillion (US$49.23 billion) stimulus package. In 2021, the government expects the budget deficit to hover between 3.05 percent and 4.01 percent.Read also: Indonesia’s foreign debt rises in April as govt issues global bonds, debt papersThe government is planning to issue another Rp 990 trillion worth of government bonds from June to December this year to finance the widening deficit. It had sold Rp 369 trillion worth of government bonds as of May, an increase of 98.3 percent from the same period last year. Next year’s state budget figures are still under discussion.“The government realizes that fiscal discipline is crucial to speed up economic recovery,” Febrio added. “We expect the budget deficit will be able to return below 3 percent in 2022.” Indonesia’s debt will swell significantly next year as the government increases spending to help the country recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, an official has said.The Finance Ministry’s Fiscal Policy Agency head Febrio Nathan Kacaribu said that Indonesia’s debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio would swell to between 33.8 percent and 35.8 percent next year, up from 29.8 percent at the end of last year, to cover a widening budget deficit during the pandemic.“This is a direct consequence of a countercyclical policy to support economic recovery and strengthen economic fundamentals in 2020 and 2021,” Febrio said at a discussion on Wednesday. “We will continue to look at various financing sources to maintain the health of the debt ratio.”last_img read more

Kosovo president charged with war crimes over 1990s killings

first_imgProsecutors said they decided to make the accusations public because Thaci and Veseli had made “repeated attempts” to obstruct the KSC.The charges will now be put before a pre-trial judge at the KSC for a decision to confirm them, the prosecutors said. Topics : The charges against both men were brought on April 24 but not revealed publicly at the time, prosecutors said in a statement.”The indictment alleges that Hashim Thaci, Kadri Veseli and the other charged suspects are criminally responsible for nearly 100 murders,” the statement added.The accused are also facing other charges such as enforced disappearance of persons, persecution and torture.The crimes alleged in the indictment “involved hundreds of known victims of Kosovo Albanian, Serb, Roma, and other ethnicities and include political opponents”. Wartime atrocities Thaci was preparing for a summit at the White House on Saturday with Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic and local media reports suggested he had already left for the US.But US special envoy to Serbia and Kosovo Richard Grenell, who organized the White House meeting, said in a tweet that Thaci had cancelled going to the summit following the charges in The Hague.”I respect his decision not to attend the discussions until the legal issues of those allegations are settled,” Grenell said. Talks will now go ahead with Kosovo’s new Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti, who has moved to ease friction with Serbia.Thaci’s office did not specify his whereabouts.But before the charges were announced he gave an interview in Albanian capital Tirana and was headed from there to Frankfurt, the journalist who interviewed him told AFP.The EU-backed tribunal was established in 2015 to investigate crimes by independence-seeking ethnic Albanian guerrillas against mainly Serb civilians during the 1998-1999 war.The conflict pitted Kosovo Liberation Army guerrillas seeking independence for the southern Serbian province of Kosovo against Serbia’s forces, who withdrew from the territory after an 11-week NATO bombing campaign.The tribunal was created after a Council of Europe report tied former guerrilla leaders, including Thaci, to atrocities.The court announced earlier this year that it had handed down its first indictments against high-ranking Kosovo officials without naming them, but speculation was already rife that it included Thaci.Asked in April whether he would resign if he was charged, Thaci told local media he was not even thinking about it and would “respond positively” if he was asked to appear at the tribunal.center_img Kosovo President Hashim Thaci has been charged with 10 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in the country’s conflict in the 1990s, a tribunal in The Hague said on Wednesday.Wartime intelligence chief and former parliamentary speaker Kadri Veseli is also accused of war crimes by specialist prosecutors before the Kosovo Specialist Chambers.Veseli has denied the accusations. ‘Serious indictments’ News of the indictment was met with caution by many in Pristina.”This court, if it works properly, will clean up the KLA’s war [record], because it is extremely certain that no KLA soldier who has worn the uniform has committed crimes against Serb civilians,” Skender Musa, a lawyer told AFP.These are “very serious indictments. I hope they are not true and we will prove our clean war,” added Ermal Emini, an economist.Kosovo’s ex-prime minister, Ramush Haradinaj, resigned last July after being summoned by the prosecutor for interrogation as a suspect.Veseli said in November he had been summoned by the court to be questioned.”The allegations raised are completely untrue and do not hold. There is also no basis for the accusations that we were impeding the work of the court,” Veseli said in Pristina.The KSC opened its doors in The Hague as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was winding down after almost 25 years of prosecuting crimes committed in the Balkans after Yugoslavia’s break-up in the early 1990s. Haradinaj was acquitted of war crimes by the ICTY in 2012.Kosovo’s independence war claimed around 13,000 lives, the majority of whom were ethnic Albanians.The territory unilaterally declared its independence in 2008 with backing from the United States and most of the West.But Serbia and its allies China and Russia have never accepted the move, and the status of Kosovo remains a major source of tension in the Balkans.last_img read more