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Jokowi delivers rice aid in North Sumatra as prices hike

Tempo - March 15, 2024

Daniel A. Fajri, Jakarta – President Joko Widodo or Jokowi delivered rice aid to beneficiary households at the Huta Lombang Bulog warehouse, Padang Lawas Regency, North Sumatra, on Friday, March 15, 2024.

In his opening remarks, Jokowi said that the rice aid was one of the government's efforts to deal with rising rice prices. "So ladies and gentlemen, this rice is given to you because the price of rice is now rising," said the former Governor of Jakarta, as quoted from a written statement by the Presidential Secretariat.

Jokowi explained that the increase in rice prices occurred worldwide, not only in Indonesia. The rice price hike, he claimed, is caused by climate change which resulted in crop failure.

President Jokowi also said that the social assistance program will be continued if the State Budget (APBN) is sufficient. "If there is room for the budget, we will continue delivering social assistance, but for now, the government promises to provide the aid until June," Jokowi said.

Also accompanying Jokowi during the event were Minister of Public Works and Housing Basuki Hadimuljono, Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin, Head of the National Food Agency Arief Prasetyo Adi, Acting Governor of North Sumatra Hassanudin, and Acting Padang Lawas Regent Edy Junaedi.

The distribution of social assistance during the political year has been criticized as a way to manipulate the votes for running pair Prabowo Subianto and Gibran Rakabuming, Jokowi's eldest son. Political rivals of Prabowo-Gibran and civil communities have repeatedly criticized the distribution of social assistance in various regions during Jokowi's visits.

Jokowi has distributed rice aid from September to December 2023. In addition to rice aid, Jokowi has also authorized the Food Risk Mitigation cash aid or BLT this year. A total of 18.8 million residents will receive 200,000 per month for January, February, and March.

This Food Risk Mitigation BLT program is a replacement for the El Nino BLT program at the end of last year. In January 2024, the central government disbursed social assistance funds worth Rp78.06 trillion.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1845335/jokowi-delivers-rice-aid-in-north-sumatra-as-prices-hik