Rizki Fachriansyah, Jakarta – The government is encouraging the middle-income segment to spend more through online shopping platforms to help improve spending amid the economic downturn resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
National economic recovery committee head Budi Gunadi Sadikin called on middle-income families to shop on their e-commerce platform of choice to help ensure a stable economy.
"To friends who happen to be middle-class and have access to [smartphones] and e-commerce storefronts, don't forget to spend to move the wheels of the economy," Budi told a press conference at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta on Wednesday.
A sense of safety and security should be reinstated during these uncertain times so the public feels comfortable going out and spending, while still adhering to health protocols, he said.
He added that the government had prepared a number of incentives, including a credit program and a stimulus scheme for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to improve domestic trade as many people had chosen to save their funds because of the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
The government has provided monthly financial aid to workers earning less than Rp 5 million (US$340.25) per month to improve the public's purchasing power.
The funds – totaling Rp 600,000 – are transferred directly to the employees' respective bank accounts every two months.
Separately, Vice President Ma'ruf Amin said state funds were essential to ensuring a healthy economy, given that many in the private sector had been battered by the COVID-19 emergency.
"The only funds that could move [the economy] are state funds; the private sector is currently idle," Ma'ruf said as quoted by kompas.com.
The senior cleric said as many as 9.6 million SME owners had received financial aid throughout the first phase of the program in September.
The government had expected 12 million business owners to receive the aid by December, he added.