Indonesia Struggling to Deploy Stimulus Funds as Recession Looms

Indonesia has spent only about half of its pandemic relief funds even as the economy faces its first recession in more than two decades.

As of Nov. 2, the government has disbursed 52.8% of the 695 trillion rupiah ($48 billion) targeted to help businesses and consumers weather the impact of the pandemic. It’s unlikely to spend the entire budget this year. Budi Gunadi Sadikin, who leads the national economic recovery task force, expects to spend just another 100 trillion rupiah this quarter, he told reporters Wednesday.

President Joko Widodo called on his ministers to accelerate spending as he sees Southeast Asia’s largest economy contracting by around 3% in the third quarter. That would push Indonesia into a technical recession after a 5.32% drop in the second quarter. Jokowi, as the president is known, told his officials to get a head start on 2021 projects to help growth rebound to 4.5% to 5.5% next year.

Indonesia has done better disbursing the social protection portion of the fund, spending 86.5% of the target, while business incentives lag, with only 29% of the budget spent so far, Sadikin said

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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