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Regions have yet to prepare post-pandemic economic recovery plan: BPKP

Jakarta Post - June 26, 2020

Moch. Fiqih Prawira Adjie, Jakarta – The Development Finance Comptroller (BPKP) has found that many regional administrations have not yet prepared adequate programs and measures to mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a discussion with several governors on Wednesday that was hosted by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), BPKP head Muhammad Yusuf Ateh urged regional leaders to draft economic recovery plans for their respective areas, including details on funding sources.

The financial sources for the programs may include the state budget, the central government's regional incentive funds (DID) and special allocation funds (DAK) or borrowing from central authorities, he said.

Yusuf also said that regional leaders should prepare "a regional incentive scheme" to accelerate the recovery of the virus-battered economy in the country's regions.

Many regional leaders have said that the pandemic, which has brought many economic activities nearly to a halt due to mobility restrictions, resulted in a severe decrease in regional income.

Jakarta, for instance, saw budget revenue shrink by 47 percent in May, while Gorontalo reported a decrease of 17.5 percent in April.

Yusuf also urged regional administrations to be more active in collecting data and registering local businesses affected by the economic crisis, as well as to prioritize economic aid for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) not covered by the central government's assistance program.

He also outlined several problems facing post-pandemic recovery in the regions, including issues with the procurement of health equipment and materials.

"The specifications of the equipment and materials ordered usually don't match the Health Ministry's standards; they have no distribution permits, the goods are hard to procure, and their price often fluctuates," Yusuf said.

"Furthermore, the specifications of the goods received are often not what was ordered. Besides, the procurement of health equipment and materials is still taxed."

Yusuf said the BPKP along with regional internal auditors would supervise and assist in the purchase of health equipment. However, he urged provincial administrations to ensure that the procurement fits their particular needs.

The BPKP also found that hospitals in some regions still had trouble claiming reimbursement for COVID-19 patient treatment, as many of them had yet to understand the rules stipulated in Health Ministry Decree No. 238/2020.

Yusuf estimated that only 30 to 40 percent of funds allocated by the central government for COVID-19 care reimbursement had been used up.

"Regional administrations should coordinate with representatives of the BPKP and the Health Care and Social Security Agency (BPJS Kesehatan) office in their respective region to expedite the reimbursement of claims," he said.

The BPKP had also integrated social aid recipients data from multiple sources, including regional social aid and the central government's Family Hope Program, to help solve the incomplete data problems that had riddled social assistance distribution.

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/06/26/regions-have-yet-to-prepare-post-pandemic-economic-recovery-plan-bpkp.html