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Indonesia Highlights: Terawan Putranto's WHO Invitation | National Economy at a Turning Point | Trade Ministry to Finalize RCEP

November 7, 2020, 03.35 AM – Islamic Defenders Front Leader (FPI) Mohammed Rizieq Shihab’s planned return to Indonesia was in the spotlight on Friday. Although Rizieq claimed that the Indonesian government has blocked his return, originally planned for November 9, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD has denied the allegation.

The issues facing Rizieq’s return is between the FPI leader and the Saudi government, Mahfud said, adding that he may return home when matters are resolved.

In other Indonesia news today, the Ministry of Manpower has completed the second installment of a government-backed salary subsidy. Manpower Minister Ida Fauziyah encouraged recipients of the salary subsidy scheme to check their bank accounts amounting to an extra Rp 1,200,000 ($82).

Unlike the first installment, the ministry worked with the country’s Corruption Eradication Commission to ensure individuals entitled to the scheme meet the criteria of having a salary below Rp 5,000,000 ($342).

A wrap-up of today’s Indonesia news is highlighted below:

1. Indonesia’s Health Minister Shares Successful Covid-19 Experience with the WHO

ANTARA FOTO/Hafidz Mubarak A

The World Health Organization (WHO) invited Indonesia’s Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto to share his experience and success in carrying out the Covid-19 Intra-Action Review (IAR).

When news broke of the WHO’s invitation, it raised eyebrows among Indonesian social media users who were quick to remind the public of the disappointment over his handling of the pandemic.

The IAR is a guideline developed to conduct periodic reviews of a country’s national and subnational response to the coronavirus pandemic. It works as a tool to evaluate and monitor the Covid-19 response around the world.

The WHO invited Terawan to share “Indonesia’s successful experience in implementing the Covid-19 IAR on a national level”.

Indonesia’s Health Minister was also asked to share “crucial lessons from conducting the Covid-19 IAR in mitigating the pandemic".



2. 'The Worst is Over' for Indonesia’s Economy

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani said that “the worst is over” for Indonesia as the economy showed signs it was at a turning point in its recovery.

Sharing the news on her Facebook page, she highlighted that Indonesia’s economy is headed towards a green zone.

The national economy contracted 3.49 percent in Q3, marking the country’s start of a recession, having slightly improved from a contraction of 5.32 percent in Q2.

An uptick in tax collection during Q3 added more optimism to Indonesia’s journey of economic recovery.



3. Indonesia’s Trade Ministry to Push for Completion of RCEP

Indonesia’s Ministry of Trade is aiming to finalize and sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) by next week in line with the original target to have everything completed in November 2020.

RCEP is a free trade agreement between the 10 ASEAN members together with China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.

There has been a greater urgency to finalize the RCEP because of the coronavirus pandemic. The completion would protect the open market mechanism, improve the integration of the regional market, and support economic recovery stemming from the pandemic.

RCEP is one of the biggest free trade agreements in the world covering 47.4 percent of the global population, 32.2 percent of the global economy, 29.1 percent of global trade, and 32.5 percent of global investment.


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