JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – The Statistics Indonesia [BPS] agency announced that the Covid-19 pandemic set back the government’s efforts to fight poverty during President Joko Widodo’s second term in office.
“The number of Indonesians living below the poverty line in September 2020 has reached 27.55 million people, up from 24.97 million people in September 2019,” notes BPS head Suhariyanto on Monday, February 15. “This is a 2.76 percent year on year [yoy] increase.”
He added that this figure represents 10.19 percent of Indonesia’s population. “The primary cause for this rise in people [living below the poverty line] is the decline in income felt by all levels of society,” Suhariyanto noted.
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“Nonetheless, the lower classes felt the pinch more than [the middle and upper classes]. Seven out of 10 respondents from the lower-class bracket said their incomes decreased significantly, against three out of 10 among their well-heeled counterparts.”
On the other hand, Suhariyanto added that Covid-19 affected inflation rates. “:The pandemic has affected supply and demand and reduced the price of commodities of rice, which fell 0.49 percent, chicken and eggs. On the other hand, beef, cooking oil and flour still increased.”
He also noted that the pandemic adversely affected employment numbers.
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“Covid-19 has affected the earnings of 29.12 million Indonesians of working age. 2.56 million people are unemployed for the long term, while 1.77 million were temporarily unemployed,” Suhariyanto said.
“The number of unemployed has increased to 7.07 percent in August 2020, up from 5.23 percent during the same period in 2019. 24 million saw their incomes decreased, as their working hours were reduced from the pre-pandemic number of 35 hours.”