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20,000 warteg merchants ready to support Prabowo-Gibran's free lunch program

Tempo - February 28, 2024

Joniansyah, Jakarta – As many as 20,000 warteg (Indonesian food stalls that sell rice and ready-to-eat side dishes) merchants, members of the Indonesian Warteg Merchants Association (Hipwin), hope to be involved in the free lunch program proposed by running pair Prabowo Subianto-Gibran Rakabumi Raka or Prabowo-Gibran.

"We hope to be involved in the free lunch program," said Hipwin Head Rojikin Manggala to Tempo on Wednesday, Feb. 28.

According to Rojikin, Hipwin members across Jakarta, Java, and other regions in Indonesia support the free lunch program.

Hipwin members, Rojikin said, have experience in procuring rice boxes. During the Covid-19 pandemic, for example, as many as 2,000 warteg merchants worked on procuring 100 boxes of rice meal per day.

Rojikin believed that by including Warteg merchants, the government would have helped and supported the development of MSMEs in Indonesia. He also hoped that Prabowo-Gibran would pay close attention to warteg merchants

"We place our hopes on Prabowo-Gibran's shoulders," said Rojikin.

Minister of Cooperatives and Small-Medium Enterprises, Teten Masduki, said on Tuesday that the free lunch program that was promoted by Prabowo-Gibran must involve MSME actors since it will increase their turnover.

"The turnover of MSMEs will decrease if they are not included [in the program]," he said. However, Teten admitted that there has been no detailed discussion about the free lunch program at the ministry level.

The government ensured that the free lunch program will start running in 2025. This was reinforced after President Joko Widodo or Jokowi discussed the program during a cabinet meeting on Monday.

Investment Minister Bahlil Lahadalia confirmed that this cabinet meeting also discussed the Prabowo-Gibran free lunch program, claiming that the State Budget plan for 2025 must accommodate future programs of the elected president.

In line with Bahlil, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto confirmed that President Jokowi's cabinet meeting was indeed discussing the priority programs of the future elected president. He even said that the government already has data regarding the number of pregnant people, toddlers, and school children to calculate the budget for free lunch.

Airlangga also relayed the estimated budget of the free lunch program for each child. "Per child, approximately Rp15,000."

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1838942/20000-warteg-merchants-ready-to-support-prabowo-gibrans-free-lunch-progra