Jakarta – The poverty rate in Indonesia has fallen to the lowest level ever recorded, according to the latest data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS).
"March 2018 is the first time ever for the poverty rate to be in the single digits. Previously, we were always in double digits," said BPS head Suhariyanto in a press conference in Jakarta on Monday, adding that the number of poor people was recorded at 25.95 million.
BPS records show that the poverty rate in September 2017 stood at 10.12 percent with about 26.58 million people living below the poverty line. The agency revealed that most of the poor people live in villages.
The poverty rate in villages was recorded at 13.20 percent in March 2018, down only slightly from 13.47 percent in September 2017.
Suhariyanto said the jump in the government's social assistance, which had grown by 87.6 percent in the first quarter of 2018, compared to a 3.39 percent increase in the first quarter of 2017, was a significant factor in pushing down the poverty rate.
Increased non-cash assistance and rice for the poor had also helped improve people's welfare, he said, adding that low inflation in 2018 had also contributed to the increase in people's purchasing power.
The BPS also recorded a significant increase in consumer spending at the lowest income level. Back in 1999, the national poverty rate stood at 23.43 percent, with 47.97 million people living in poverty. (bbn)