JAKARTA - The continuing fluctuation in the global economy has not ended and will add to growing poverty in Indonesia.
The Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (INDEF) estimated that the number of poor people would reach 40 million (16.82%) by 2009. This number indicates an increase of approximately 5 million when compared to results from the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) survey in March 2008, which revealed poverty figures at 34.96 million (15,42%).
The Executive Director for INDEF, Ahmad Erani Yustika said that turbulence in the global economy had resulted in the increase of crude oil and food prices. This had created shocking consequences for the stability of national macroeconomic stability. This had made government resort to un-popular policies such as raising the price of subsidized fuel (BBM).
Mr. Yustika, speaking at the bi-annual INDEF study presentation yesterday in Jakarta, said that this had resulted in weaker public purchasing power. According to him, current government policy on poverty was not comprehensive and thorough. Mr Yustika cited the policy of Public Business Credit (KUR), National Program of Public Empowerment (PNPM), and Cash-grant (BLT) as examples.
He said that at the same time, government did not create an atmosphere which was conducive to investment and which would create employment and strengthen purchasing power. Mr. Yustika said that in future, the poverty problem would be more difficult to solve while there was still dual policy.
The Minister of National Development Planning / Chief of Bappenas, Mr. Paskah Suzetta has said that poverty numbers would not increase next year. According to him, this fact was supported by the ability of government to the control theinflation rate, post the upsurge in subsidized fuel prices. This was an average of 28.7% at the end of last May.
Mr. Suzetta said that although fuel (BBM) prices had gone up, this would not increase poverty levels. Government had prepared inflation rate controls by guaranteeing supply. He also said that government was convinced that the numbers of poor people would not rise as distribution of BLT cash-grants, rice for poor people (raskin), PNPM and KUR continued.
The last two programs were specially designed by government to encourage public participation in economic empowerment. . Bappenas data indicates that poverty levels are expected to fall by 11–13% in 2009. To reach those figures, government will apply social protection policies, such as school operational grant and BLT, PNPM and development for middle and small micro businesses.
The Secretary of National Official Member Council Public Associated Indonesia Entrepreneur, Mr. Anton J Supit suggested that government took firm steps to reduce poverty by creating business atmosphere through regulation,correction and development of supporting infrastructure. He said that this could be done by developing an agricultural sector in rural areas where poverty numbers were high. He said that temporary programs would not allow for a significant reduction in the numbers poor people.(Zaenal Muttaqin)
Source: SINDO Newspaper, www.seputar-indonesia.com