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We must take a big leap: Indonesia President Jokowi seeks major transformation out of crisis

Budi Sutrisno The Jakarta Post   Fri, August 14, 2020

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo delivers the annual state of the nation address at the House of Representatives compound in Jakarta on Friday, (Antara/Akbar Nugroho Gumay)

JAKARTA – President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has called on people to support development amid the health and economic crisis.

“In 25 years we will usher in 100 years of independence as we become the Indonesia we aspire to be,” Jokowi said in his state of the nation address on Friday during the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) annual session at the House of Representatives compound in Jakarta, held to commemorate Indonesia’s 75th Independence Day, which falls on Monday.

Wearing traditional Sabu clothing from East Nusa Tenggara, he said the crisis could help push major transformation through the implementation of grand strategies and the resolution of fundamental problems.

“Our current goal is not only to escape the pandemic but also to get through the crisis. We are taking measures to take a big leap by making the most of out of the ongoing crisis,” Jokowi said in his state of the nation address.

He said this period should be used to help the “catch up”.

Jokowi compared the economic crisis to a computer crash, where many countries had to face stagnation but had the chance to restart their systems.

“All countries must undergo a brief shutdown, restart and reboot,” he said.

With 75 years of independence, Jokowi said, Indonesia had emerged as an upper-middle-income country but the ongoing economic crisis was the worst in its history.

In the first quarter, the economy grew 2.97 percent but contracted 5.32 percent in the second quarter. He compared the rates with those of developed countries, which had contracted more than 10 percent.

Jokowi once again emphasized the need for swift action in providing social assistance for people and laidoff workers, while acknowledging the importance of loan restructuring and emergency capital assistance for small and medium enterprises.

“It is not an easy task. The government must adjust its programs and carry out budget reallocations quickly,” the President said in his speech.

Jokowi also asserted the importance of speed and accuracy in the health sector, especially in providing emergency facilities and medical equipment, enforcing health protocols and accelerating citizen repatriation processes.

“We must undertake fundamental reforms in the way we work. Our readiness and speed are being tested,” he said.

He also addressed the need for fundamental reforms in the health sector by strengthening the capacity of human resources and developing hospitals, health centers, as well as the medicine and medical equipment industry.

“Resilience and capacity of our health service must be improved on a massive scale,” he said.

During the address, Jokowi also expressed his appreciation to medical and health workers, as well as to community leaders, volunteers, journalists, national security personnel and civil servants.

Source: The Jakarta Post, Indonesia Fri, August 14, 2020

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