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COVID-19 aid stalled, used for political stunts

first_imgWhile millions of people out of work are depending on the arrival of social assistance to weather the COVID-19 crisis, bureaucrats have dragged their feet in the distribution process and have even taken the opportunity to boost their popularity among voters.The distribution of food packages and cash assistance is lagging outside of Jakarta as many regencies and cities continue to gather data about their poor populations, a problem that economists warned about.In Central Java, Klaten Regent Sri Mulyani faced criticism for putting her image on bottles of hand sanitizer in aid packages sponsored by the Social Affairs Ministry. She is seeking a second term in office in the regional elections scheduled to take place in December.Sri denied that it was her choice to put stickers of her likeness on the bottles of hand sanitizer, saying that the aid packages were distributed with those of other institutions, including the regency administration and the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).“The aid from the social ministry was limited. More packages came from us. I personally also gave out hand sanitizer,” said the PDI-P politician. Sri said the stickers might have been placed on the bottles by people who wanted to tarnish her image.Read also: ‘Omnipresent’ Klaten Regent Sri Mulyani draws mockery About 24.8 million Indonesians, 9.22 percent of the population, are considered poor, living on under US$1 a day, Statistics Indonesia data shows. According to a World Bank report titled Aspiring Indonesia, more than 60 million Indonesians are at risk of falling into poverty.The central government has gradually implemented physical distancing across the country under large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) over the past month. It is also carrying out social assistance programs to help underprivileged communities endure the social and economic difficulties of the restrictions.The government has set aside Rp 110 trillion ($7.49 billion) for social safety net programs, including for the expansion of existing programs like the Family Hope Program (PKH) under the Social Affairs Ministry’s Integrated Data on Social Welfare (DTKS) and other forms of social aid and cash transfers for those who are not in the database.Problems have emerged in tracking down those who are not on the list. Some poor families have complained about not receiving packages while nearby well-off neighborhoods reportedly had.In Batam, Riau Islands, Mayor Muhammad Rudi said many residents had not received the aid. He told them to report to their subdistrict and district heads and promised them that help would arrive soon.“We will provide more packages. For instance, today [Sunday] I received 1,000 food packages. I will give them to those who have not received them,” he said, adding that he would prioritize the poor.  The NasDem Party politician said the city administration did not have enough money to enforce social restrictions on the island, which is located next to Singapore.Regions implementing large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) (JP/Hengky Wijaya)In East Java, in addition to the social aid that is set to be distributed to 5.91 million families, the local administration will give Rp 100,000 to each family for three months. However, Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa said municipalities and regencies in the province had not yet submitted the names of recipients.In Jakarta, the country’s COVID-19 epicenter, there were reports that several companies that the government had appointed to help pack staple foods for distribution to affected families had experienced delays caused by a shortage of special bags printed with a message from President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.Jakarta-owned food security company PT Food Station Tjipinang Jaya has been packing staple foods into red-and-white cloth bags with the printed message: “Aid from the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Together We Fight COVID-19.”One of the firm’s workers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said his company had received an order to pack 20,000 bags per day in mid-April but that it had not been meeting the daily target because of insufficient packaging.Read also: Staple food distribution hampered as bags with President’s message run short Governor Anies Baswedan said that about 1.6 percent of the packages meant for 1.2 million beneficiaries had been misallocated in the first phase of distribution, which ended on April 25.“They did not reach the beneficiaries because of a wrong address or a case where the recipient had died,” Anies said on Friday.The distribution of aid is currently on hold and will resume 10 days before Idul Fitri. Anies said the administration was updating its data to include more beneficiaries.SMERU researcher Luhur Bima said the government had shown some improvements in updating the list of beneficiaries from 2005, when the first cash transfer program was rolled out. However, a lack of human resources has made it challenging for the administration to achieve 100 percent accuracy on poverty data.“The data updating process is still not optimal. This causes confusion over who is eligible for the aid programs,” he told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.Donal Fariz of Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) criticized the politicians who used the aid distribution for political gain, saying that it was tantamount to corruption.  “But even the Corruption Law cannot charge such attempts as a form of corruption, [unless] they occurred during the election,” he said.ICW coordinator Adnan Topan Husodo pointed out that the mass distribution of aid during the pandemic could trigger many illicit practices, from illegal levies to price gouging.“During an emergency situation like this, unfortunately, supervision is lacking,” Adnan said.Topics :last_img read more


Long remains on Bruce’s radar

first_img “It would have been great for us if it happened, I’m a big admirer of the boy,” he said. “I’ve seen how disappointed he was, left the way he had been. That’s football and you never know what will happen in the next three or four months but if he became available again of course I would be interested.” Despite the final move for Long falling apart, Bruce successfully reshaped his promotion-winning side during a busy summer. He strengthened his squad in every position, bringing in 11 new additions and catching the eye when he persuaded England caps Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore to swap Tottenham for Hull. But through the loan market and free transfers he was able to do so on a budget of less than £15million. “We can’t complain,” he added. “I was at training today and I said ‘what a difference to 12 months ago’ to the squad of players we have here. “No disrespect to what has come before but that is when you recognise what the Premier League does. It forces you to bring in bigger and better players.” Hull have just one fitness concern heading into Saturday’s match, with goalkeeper Allan McGregor still struggling to shake off the groin complaint that kept him out of the Scotland squad. Press Association West Brom released a statement in the aftermath of the aborted transfer suggesting Hull had changed the terms of their initial bid, but a frustrated Bruce, addressing the issue for the first time ahead of Saturday’s Barclays Premier League clash with Cardiff, felt the clubs must have been close to getting the deal over the line. “I’m obviously bitterly disappointed that we didn’t get Shane Long,” said Bruce. “That would have been the icing on the cake in terms of the the squad we’re trying to get together. We thought at one stage we were really, really close. “He left the headquarters of Ireland, he didn’t get on a plane until 6.30pm, then I picked him up at Leeds Bradford Airport at 8.15pm for a medical at 9pm. “It was being battered back and forward (between the clubs). I’ve seen that happen over days, weeks and months and I knew dialogue was going on, but we must have been there or thereabouts (on valuation) or why would they let him go on a plane? Why would he be doing a medical if there was no chance of it happening? “But unfortunately it didn’t happen. That’s West Brom’s prerogative, he’s their player and they changed their mind for whatever reason. “I’m sure Shane is as disappointed as anyone, stuck at our training ground, left high and dry effectively.” Bruce was able to agree a deal to bring Egyptian striker Gedo back to the club on loan from Al Ahly, joining fellow recruits Danny Graham and Yannick Sagbo, but a renewed bid for Long could still be on the cards in January. Hull manager Steve Bruce admits he was left “bitterly disappointed” by the last-gasp breakdown of the deal to sign Shane Long. West Brom striker Long seemed to be on his way to the KC Stadium in a club-record deal on transfer deadline day but the Baggies pulled the plug with just an hour of the window remaining. It was a messy situation, with Long having left a Republic of Ireland get together on a charter plane laid on by Hull as talks continued. last_img read more