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Indonesia Faces Delays in Covid-19 Vaccination

October 24, 2020, 07.17 AM

JAKARTA, – The Indonesian government’s plan to begin nationwide Covid-19 inoculation by the middle of November is facing possible delays due to bureaucratic procedures.

Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said President Joko Widodo conveyed his concerns about the delays.

“The National Agency of Drug and Food Control [BPOM] could not issue the Emergency Use Authorization letter needed to issue the vaccines because they need to comply with the step-by-step [bureaucratic] procedures to issue the document,” he said on October 23.

Also read: Indonesia Hopes to Begin Administering Covid-19 Vaccines by November 2020

“So it's not a delay in shipment arrival. The vaccines have arrived and are ready for use. Nonetheless, President Jokowi will still comply with [existing] procedures, pending the issuance of the Emergency Use Authorization letter.”

Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto stated last September that the government was preparing to use the vaccine by the end of 2020 or early January 2021.

He noted that the use of the vaccine is still pending a presidential order or a road map on the vaccine’s distribution, which he chose to leave to Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati has warned Indonesia to refrain from any excessive euphoria on the arrival and distribution of the vaccine. “The efforts to find and distribute [a Covid-19] vaccine is bound to run into obstacles,” she said.

Also read: China's Covid-19 Vaccine Brought to Indonesia for Phase 3 Trials

“The [challenges] include the need to carry on amid tight health protocols, especially with the knowledge that the vaccine will not be available any time soon.”

Mulyani admitted that this is one of the reasons why she had the Tax Directorate General carry out their duties, even though their tax collecting efforts did not yield much, as many major Indonesian companies faced major financial difficulties from Covid-19.

“A leading example of the financial difficulties faced by many taxpaying companies and individuals was how we only got back Rp. 30 trillion in taxes, even though we gave them a Rp. 120,6 trillion tax breaks.”

She added that the government will still help ease the companies’ and individuals’ burden by giving tax breaks, credit restructuring, and helping small, micro and medium enterprises get subsidized interest rates or helping them access credit.

(Writers: Ade Miranti Karunia, Mutia Fauzia | Editors: Yoga Sukmana, Erlangga Djumena)


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