Indonesian President Joko Widodo has signed a presidential regulation to form a national Covid-19 mitigation and economic recovery committee to resuscitate the economy amid a surge in new cases.
State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir will head the new team, which is a merger of two former task forces. Mr Erick’s deputy Budi Gunadi Sadikin will continue to manage the economic task force while the disaster management agency chief, Mr Doni Monardo, will remain as chair of the Covid-19 mitigation task force.
In a Facebook post yesterday, Mr Joko said the new team has been tasked to deal with a number of issues, including monitoring the availability of test equipment and the development of Covid-19 vaccines.
“With this integrated team, the planning and execution of programmes on Covid-19 mitigation and economic recovery can take place simultaneously, since both areas are being managed by a single institution for maximum coordination,” said the President, popularly known as Jokowi.
As of yesterday, Indonesia has recorded 89,869 cases and 4,320 deaths, the highest in South-east Asia and surpassing China.
Indonesia has been easing restrictive measures under a “new normal” but has seen record cases and fresh outbreaks in various parts of the country as crowds gather in public places and people flout social distancing rules.
Mr Erick on Monday said an integrated team was needed as “we don’t want people to misinterpret the new normal term by carrying out activities freely without complying with the protocols”.
He promised to design policies which would include boosting people’s purchasing power, and to present them to Mr Joko next week.
President Joko on Monday disbanded 18 state institutions to reduce the burden on the state budget as well as to streamline bureaucratic processes by handing over the tasks and responsibilities of the agencies to the new integrated committee and relevant ministries.
The dissolution followed an uncharacteristic outburst at a Cabinet meeting last month when he threatened to reshuffle ministerial posts and disband underperforming agencies if his ministers failed to deal with the health crisis swiftly.
Number of Covid-19 cases in Indonesia.
Number of fatalities.
The agencies included the Sunda Strait Infrastructure and Strategic Area Development Agency which was introduced in 2011 to, among other things, oversee a shelved plan to build the 30km-long Sunda Strait Bridge connecting the islands of Java and Sumatra.