Indonesia plans cash transfers for nearly 14 million workers

FILE PHOTO: A worker wearing a protective face mask sorts onion at a traditional market amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Jakarta, Indonesia, August 3, 2020. REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia plans to give cash transfers to 13.8 million workers at a cost of around $2.15 billion under its stimulus package to prop up household consumption in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy during the pandemic, officials said.

Indonesia reported on Wednesday gross domestic product contracted 5.32% in the second quarter as household consumption, which accounts for more than half of the economy, fell 5.51% from a year earlier.

“The government’s aim by pouring additional income is to support household consumption, which is important to propel the economy and pushing for economic improvement,” State-owned Enterprise minister Erick Thohir said on Thursday.

Thohir said in the statement workers on a monthly income of below 5 million rupiah ($343.64) would receive about $41 a month for four months starting September.

Thohir, who is chairing a COVID-19 recovery task force, said non-government officers as well as employees of state-owned companies registered with the worker’s social security provider BPJS Ketenagakerjaan would be eligible.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani on Wednesday put the cost of the programme at about 31.2 trillion rupiah ($2.15 billion) and said it was part of efforts to speed up disbursement of the government’s COVID-19 stimulus by reallocating parts of the $50 billion programme to more practical use.

Reporting by Tabita Diela; Editing by Ed Davies