Indonesia’s government is currently in the process of reviewing businesses that are eligible to receive government aid as it receives reports from up to 37,000 SMEs that have been severely hit by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Approximately 56 percent of the reports are related to declining sales, 22 percent is regarding funding, 15 percent to goods distribution and 4 percent to access raw materials, according to the Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Ministry.

The ministry confirmed that it will be reviewing reports to determine which ones are eligible to receive government support aimed at protecting SMEs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Around 87.4 percent of the reports were coming from micro-scaled businesses that have felt the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. “We are also designing the criteria for businesses eligible for the program so that they don’t receive the same benefits twice,” said Fiki Satari, part of the ministry’s specialised staff on creative economy empowerment.

At the moment, the government is preparing a stimulus package for SMEs to help them survive amid the pandemic. Said package is planned to include loan relaxations, a six month tax waiver, and cash transfers for micro-scaled businesses, Cooperatives and SME Minister Teten Masduki said.

The government also advises SMEs to convert their businesses in order to meet new demand, such as making masks and overalls as the government’s large-scale social distancing (PSBB) policy has forced the majority of business owners to close shops as demand weakens with people staying home.

“This effort could help fulfil the domestic demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) and masks, as well as help them fulfil their daily needs during this pandemic,” Victoria Simanungkalit, the ministry’s undersecretary for production and marketing, said during the briefing.

Currently, there are around 330 SMEs from 16 provinces that have joined the program and around 80 have been included in the Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Ministry’s catalogue, Victoria said.

The SMEs have also received a total of Rp 127.8 million (US$8,145) worth of orders from potential buyers consisting of 10,276 masks, 962 hazmat suits and 25 pairs of shoe covers, she added.


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