COVID-19: Jokowi urges ministry to reach out to poor families amid uneven aid distribution

Reinforcement: Workers package food donations from President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan) -
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has instructed the Social Affairs Ministry to reach out to poor households amid concerns over the uneven distribution of COVID-19 social aid packages across the archipelago.

“The President has ordered the Social Affairs Ministry to survey poor households and other affected citizens who have not received aid,” Presidential spokesperson Fadjroel Rahman said on Tuesday as quoted by

He said the government’s aid distribution program was expansive and included various types of aid, including direct cash transfers, staple food packages and electricity discounts for households in the 450-volt ampere category.

However, Fadjroel acknowledged that problems in data-gathering had led to errors in the distribution of aid.

To streamline data across various administrative levels, the ministry gave neighborhood units (RT), community units (RW) and regional administrations the task of ensuring that all poor households and other affected communities received the social aid packages, he said.

“This is also an opportunity for the ministry to revise its Integrated Social Welfare Data.”

A recent survey conducted by Jakarta-based pollster Indikator Politik Indonesia involving 1,200 respondents across the country found that 60.3 percent of respondents said the government’s COVID-19 aid packages had not been evenly distributed.

“As much as 60.3 percent of the public said the aid distribution was off the mark, while 29.7 percent said the aid packages were evenly distributed. The other 10 percent did not know or did not respond,” Indikator Politik Indonesia executive director Burhanuddin Muhtadi said on Sunday.

The discrepancy in aid distribution was most noticeable in Banten, West Java, East Java, Central Java, as well as several regions in Sumatra, Kalimantan and Sulawesi, he added.

In contrast, the majority of Jakarta residents said the aid packages had been evenly distributed, according to the survey.

“As much as 57.6 percent of Jakarta residents said the aid was properly distributed, while 39.6 percent said the aid was unevenly distributed,” Burhanuddin said. (rfa)