Indonesian economists are voicing warnings that the country is facing a “near recession” as the country is now confronted with a second wave of the coronavirus.
Faisal Basri, a Senior Economist at the University of Indonesia also gives advice to President Widodo’s government to first focus on the need to control the pandemic because the success of any recovery program depends on the well being of the Indonesian people. He asserts that a strong economic recovery is likely to happen if the health threats posed by COVID-19 have been addressed by instituting actions that can arrest the continuing rise of the numbers of new cases.
Widodo Government Urged to Give Vaccine Procurement First Priority in Economic Recovery Plans
As it is, the economy is unable to pick up because the country is seeing record-high single-day increases in infection cases amidst a second wave of the virus outbreak. Mr. Basri pointed out the fact that the country’s economy had already shrunk by 5.32 percent as a result of the first wave during the second quarter. He described it as even worse than the one they experienced in 1998, because the situation today is different, in which all components of economic activity had slowed down.
As an expert economist, he foresees that Indonesia’s economy will shrink further in the third quarter by at least 3% more. Mr. Basri boldly pointed out to the members of the House of Representatives that the Widodo government’s incompetence in dealing with pandemic is the main cause of the continuing decline.
The senior economist explained that inasmuch as the government is simply relying on the arrival of a vaccine as policy response to controlling the contagion, it should give vaccine procurement first priority However, it became apparent in the unveiling of the government’s recovery plan that the core focus of the administration’s economic initiatives is the development of infrastructure that can entice foreign investors to set up business in Indonesia.
Critics also Question Budget Proposal to Fund the Development of an Anti-Gambling Search Engine Machine
In addition to Mr Basir’s criticism of the government’s handling of the health crisis, some critics of the Widodo government also took note of the budget being requested by General Pangerapan, the Information Applications Director at the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT). The department is planning to develop a search engine machine as a means of combatting the continuous operations of online gambling operators in the country.
General Pangerapan is requesting Congress to include 1 trillion Indonesian rupiahs (USD69.5 million) as funds to use in the development of a proprietary search engine machine that can detect online gambling websites being accessed by Indonesian gamblers.
Yet Indonesian lawmakers are advised to first make a careful study about the advanced communication technologies in use today by the global igaming industry. As people all over the world are now tech savvy by using smartphones for nearly all lifestyle aspects, many also prefer to gamble by way of mobile applications. In countries like Indonesia where ISPs have been ordered to block online gambling sites, Indonesians play and wager money only in Judi Online Resmi of operators.
That way, their online gambling activities are kept private and untraceable by way of mobile applications that use Virtual Private Networks (VPN), which are out of reach of ISPs. The proposed search engine to carry out the anti-ganbling campaign of the MCIT could end up useless and a huge waste of taxpayers’ money.