30 April 2020 | FACING global pandemic that strikes local economy, local governments in Indonesia distributed social assistance, particularly to the needy. Sounded like a solution, social assistance distribution raises its own challenges that, if not properly managed, make the ultimate goal not achieved. UCLG ASPAC connected cities in Indonesia with the Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Culture to share their experiences, challenges they face, and solutions they take for insights to other cities facing similar problems. In this WebShare #6, representative of Malang City, East Java Province, and Jakarta Province took part in the discussion led by UCLG ASPAC Secretary General, Dr. Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi.
According to the Indonesia Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Culture, social assistance initiated by the national government is targeted at households at the lowest economy level. The assistance takes various forms: 1) Hope Family Programme (assistance will be provided monthly), 2) Basic Needs Programme (nutritious food), 3) Electricity Subsidy Programme, 4) Pre-Work Programme, and 5) Cash Assistance. Providing these various assistances, local governments are expected to fill in the gaps that are not yet catered by the national government.
Attending the virtual discussion was also Mayor Setiaji of Malang City. With the pandemic challenge, Malang has reallocated the budget to provide for the social assistance that is distributed to six agencies: Social Agency, Labour Agency, Trade and Industry Agency, Tourism Agency, Education Agency, and Transportation Agency. Each agency will conduct proper documentation, verification, and validation for local people that need the assistance. Monitoring will also be conducted after distribution of social assistance.
Vice Governor Emil Dardak of East Java also shared the approach. Filling in the gaps of social assistance provided by the national government, local government of East Java re-allocates its local budget to provide similar assistances. The province also develops social safety net scheme for SMEs by providing foods and protein supplement. Its local policy during pandemic time includes supporting local people to survive (social safety net, safeguarding certain sectors, credit restructuring), transition towards recovery, and maintaining stability (build consumers trust, upscale human resources capacity).
Jakarta Province, represented by Mr. Catur Laswanto from Welfare Agency, shared that local budget reallocation has been conducted to provide for social assistance for local people. To ensure that budget suffices, several actions have been taken; among many are procurement of goods and services not directly related to local people needs is made unavailable, and benefits of local government staff is unpaid. In addition, local government of Jakarta Province collaborate with leaders at neighbourhood level to check that the assistance does reach the needy.