EXECUTIVE Director of the Center of Reform on Economics (CORE) Indonesia, Mohammad Faisal criticized the government’s plan to provide discounts for travelers as part of a stimulus in the tourism sector.

“I think the plan is not quite right because the COVID-19 pandemic is not over. Because the spread of the pandemic is still increasing until now, even experiencing an acceleration if you look at the increase in positive cases per day. If it is enforced, it is feared that there will be an increase in epidemics such as in Bali which will eventually force the tourism business in several places there to also close,” he said.

Previously, the government prepared a budget of IDR1 trillion for a stimulus in the tourism sector. The stimulus will be released together with the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in December 2020. Details of the allocation of funds will be given in the form of a tourism package discount of 50% to every 1 owner of a population identification number (NIK) with a maximum discount of IDR2.35 million per NIK.

“This method is expected to provide a multiplier effect of 4.58 to 5.85 times or the value of IDR9.34 trillion to IDR11.93 trillion. I suggest that the government should better provide assistance and subsidies to businesses in the tourism sector so that they can survive the pandemic,” he noted.

He added, it would be better, according to him, if the government provided a stimulus in the form of a salary subsidy or by buying hotel room occupancy which was used for the independent isolation of COVID-19 sufferers.

“Apart from that, a better stimulus could also be a free swab test service for people who are forced to travel by airplane, not just applying SOPs so that the risk of travelers being exposed can be minimized,”  Faisal affirmed.

Expand targets On the other hand, to help support the sustainability and resilience of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), including cooperatives, in dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government continues to accelerate distribution and expand targets for MSMEs that receive assistance from the national economic recovery program (PEN).

Meanwhile, the Minister of Cooperatives and UKM, Teten Masduki, through his official statement, said that the target for the initial distribution is 9.1 million people. We have sent a letter proposing to expand the target recipient to 12 million micro-entrepreneurs. The proposal letter is currently being reviewed by the Ministry of Finance.

“The realization of the distribution of the presidential ban for the August-September period has reached 72.46% with a value of IDR 15.93 trillion. The number of micro business actors who received assistance was 6.63 million people, with an assistance value of IDR2.4 million/business player,” Teten added.

Furthermore, Teten detailed that the productive of presidential assistance program for micro businesses targets micro-entrepreneurs who are still un-bankable and have never received financing from a financial institution. This program aims to encourage micro businesses to enter into formal financing. [ special]