indonesias joko slams officials again over poor covid 19 budget planning and spending - Indonesia's Joko slams officials again over poor Covid-19 budget planning and spending

JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has once again expressed his disappointment in his Cabinet over poor utilisation of funds allocated for the country’s Covid-19 response.

“Only around 141 trillion rupiah (S$13.2 billion) has been spent, or 20 per cent from the provided budget. That is a very small amount,” Mr Joko said prior to a limited Cabinet meeting on Monday (Aug 3).

“This shows that ministries and government institutions still do not have a sense of urgency. Officials are still fixated on their day-to-day duties.”

He said each minister should plan their budgets in detail, “so that crisis management can be done quickly.”

He went on to say that his administration encouraged the Family Welfare Movement (PKK) – a state-sponsored organisation comprising community leaders and officials’ wives – to disseminate information on the importance of complying with health protocols, especially the importance of wearing masks, to neighbourhood communities.

Mr Joko also said the Cabinet should be concerned about the country’s high Covid-19 fatality rate.

“The country’s fatality rate is 4.7 per cent, or 0.8 (percentage points) higher than the global fatality rate. This is something we should all work on,” he said.

According to the official government count, Indonesia has recorded 113,134 cases and 5,302 deaths as of Monday.

The president had in a June 18 Cabinet meeting became visibly angry and lambasted his ministers for their “lack of sense of crisis” in handling the coronavirus pandemic, and had threatened to replace some of them in a Cabinet reshuffle.

With a raised voice and furrowed brows, he said at the Cabinet meeting on June 18: “I’ll say as it is. There is no significant progress, there isn’t.”

He added: “I see that many are acting as if everything is normal. That irks me. Don’t you have feelings, we are in a crisis.”

A video of the dressing down was released by the presidential palace on Sunday , 10 days after the session.

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