Jakarta, March 31, 2020 - The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, declared by the WHO as a pandemic, has wreaked havoc on the global economy by disrupting supply chains, halting tourism, and triggering layoffs in several countries, including Indonesia.
Many self-employed Indonesians working in the informal sector, such as street vendors and motorcycle taxi drivers, have had to suspend their businesses on account of the virus forcing customers to stay at home.
In addition, hundreds of thousands of workers may face layoffs due to the disruption of production chains. "We are calling this a layoff emergency situation," Said Iqbal, president of the Indonesia Labor Union Confederation (KSPI) said.
On March 20, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) assured the Indonesian people that the government is ready to face the economic slowdown owing to the COVID-19 crisis.
The Indonesian government has claimed that it had put precautionary measures in place since the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak. The government's response has focused on three aspects -- safety and health; social safety net; and, economic impact.
Jokowi, who is working out of the Bogor Palace and communicating with his ministers via teleconferencing, has echoed the government’s decision to offer a social safety net and economic stimulus to MSMEs affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to help them stay afloat in the current challenging scenario.
The government will prepare an economic stimulus for MSMEs and informal businesses without delay, Jokowi remarked while chairing a limited cabinet meeting via videoconferencing in West Java, on March 30.