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130 million now living in poverty

Associated Press - January 15, 1999

Jakarta – The total number of Indonesian now living in poverty has reached 130 million, a sharp increase from 80 million in mid-last year, an official report said Friday. Two years ago, the number of the poor in the crisis-ridden Indonesia was only 20 million.

Minister of Social Affairs Justika S. Baharsjah was quoted by Antara news agency as saying the government has pledged to overcome the problem through the Social Security Net program. Under the program, the 130 million poor or 20 million families would be provided with 20 kilograms of rice monthly along with unpaid health care, she said. The government allotted 3 trillion rupiahs for the fiscal years 1999/2000, she said.

Indonesia is currently enduring its worst economic crisis in 30 years. The annual inflation rate is running at 80% and millions have been put out of work as debt-burdened businesses close.