Indonesian President Joko Widodo has labeled the national vaccination program against COVID-19 as a “game-changer” in national efforts to bring the pandemic under control and rebuild the Indonesian Economy.
The Indonesian President presented his optimistic outlook during a virtual meeting on Industry and the Economy for 2021 held in Jakarta on Friday, 15 January 2021.
“Controlling the pandemic, primarily through vaccinations, is a game-changer – the key to finding a way to get the public back to work,” said the President. Adding: “Our children will be able to return to school, and we will all be able to worship again with peace of mind, while our national economy revives.”
Quoted by Kompas.com, President Joko Widodo continued: “I ask all parties to be optimistic in embarking on 2021 because this year will be the turning point in dealing with the problems of COVID-19 that we suffered in 2020.” Widodo said he hopes that the nation’s health would gradually improve with the public continuing to follow health protocols until the world returns to normal and is free of the pandemic.
The Indonesian President promised that the free vaccination program for COVID-19 that began on Wednesday, 13 January 2021, will continue until a high immunization level is achieved sufficient to generate herd immunity.
The government has painstakingly formulated the free vaccination program in Indonesia to vaccinate 181.5 million Indonesians to eventually create herd immunity.
President Joko Widodo said: “A support system for the vaccination has been planned and in place already for several months. This is an important step, a step to be taken together. To bring our people out of the pandemic, we must safeguard the public’s health and safety to restore the national economy as quickly as possible.”
The President also assure all parties that the government has reserved 426 million dosages of the vaccine for the public originating from four companies in four different countries. “By undertaking mass vaccinations, we hope that herd immunity will be achieved and thereby eliminate the risk of further spread of COVID-19, and the national economy can fully recover,” said the President.
Earlier, Indonesia’s Minister of Finance, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, issued instructions to every Ministry and Government Agency to create new budgets and allocations for 2021. The new budgets will reflect the desire of President Widodo that the main focus now be given to handling COVID-19 and restoration of the National Economy.
A Circular Memorandum issued by the Minister of Finance (Surat Edaran Menteri Keuangan Nomor S-30/MK/02/2021) outlines the criteria for conserving expenditures among ministries and government agencies for 2021. Areas highlighted for savings and reductions are honorariums, government travel, meeting packets, payment for services, public assistance, regional assistance not specifically directed by the President, and government office construction projects. Also highlighted for cost savings were the acquisition of vehicles and machinery, proceeds from auctions, budgets for activities that have yet to be contracted, and activities that can be postponed or canceled.
All ministries are asked to complete the re-budgeting process as soon as possible, so the main goals of national inoculation and restarting the national economy can proceed apace.