Topics : President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has called on local administrations to accelerate their regional budget spending to help boost the economy after Indonesia’s gross domestic product (GDP) contracted in the second quarter. About Rp 170 trillion (US$11.5 billion) in funds from local administrations were left sitting in banks, waiting to be disbursed, he said.“I am optimistic [the economy in] the third quarter will be better than in the second quarter,” Jokowi said during a coordination meeting in Bandung on Tuesday. “We want to grow positively but we need to work hard.” The President expressed hope for spending to occur between July and September to prevent a recession in the third quarter.The Indonesian economy shrank 5.32 percent year-on-year in the second quarter, the worst since the first quarter of 1999, as pandemic restrictions hit economic activity hard. Government spending, which was expected to anchor the economy and boost people’s purchasing power amid cooling private sector activity, plunged 6.9 percent during the period.Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati expected the economy to grow at no more than 0.5 percent or even contract further in the third quarter, which means the country could fall into recession.A recession is typically defined as an annual economic contraction in two consecutive quarters. Jokowi further noted that Indonesia’s economic contraction of 5.32 percent was still better than that of other countries, such as Germany, France and the United States at 11.7 percent, 19 percent and 9.5 percent, respectively.“Local administrations must prioritize their spending in the third quarter as the sooner the spending happens, the better our chance of returning to a positive economic trajectory,” he said.The government has earmarked Rp 695.2 trillion toward its pandemic response, including economic, social and health needs.However, it has only spent Rp 145.4 trillion, dominated by social aid and a micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) stimulus, while the disbursement of stimulus funds for health care and corporate financing lagged behind.West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil said at the same meeting that 10.7 million families had received social aid as of Tuesday because only 25 percent of West Java’s population of 50 million were eligible for the assistance. He claimed that, in actuality, 72 percent of the population needed social aid.The West Java economy contracted 5.9 percent in the second quarter, shrinking further than the national contraction over the same period.The province reported 2.73 percent economic growth in the first quarter but the pandemic had brought its manufacturing industry down, resulting in a deep contraction the following quarter, Ridwan added.Around 40 percent of West Java’s regional GDP is sourced from the manufacturing industry.Ridwan said his administration would employ people affected by the pandemic in its projects and asked the government to buy consumable goods from local manufacturers in West Java, adding that some companies, such as state-owned weapons manufacturer PT Pindad and state-owned aircraft maker PT Dirgantara Indonesia, had pivoted their business toward health needs by producing ventilators as a way to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.“The central government can buy uniforms and other consumable goods from our manufacturers, so this can be a win-win solution,” he said. (eyc)
BASSETERRE, St Kitts, (CMC) – Spinner Lee Louisy’s six-wicket haul hurt Leeward Islands but Windward Islands also suffered a batting collapse, to leave the third round Regional Under-19 encounter in the balance after day one here TuesdayOpting to bat first at St Paul’s, the Leewards got up to 180 with Uri Smith stroking a top score of 58, Demari Benta getting 38 and Jamie Cornelius, 28.They were coasting at 118 for three before suffering a collapse which saw seven wickets tumble for 62 runs.At the heart of the decline as Louisy who snatched six for 64 to destroy the innings while Sealron Williams finished with three for 26.In reply, the Windwards slid to 27 for three as seamer Kian Pemberton produced a telling burst to finish with two for 31, before recovering to end the day on 77 for five.Dillon Douglas, who top-scored with 21 from 22 deliveries with two fours and a six, added 25 for the fourth wicket with captain Johnnel Eugene (6) to prop up the innings.However, Windwards suffered a double blow when both fell in successive overs to leave the innings rocking on 54 for five.Tahj Tavenier, unbeaten on 17, has so far anchored a 23 run unbroken sixth wicket partnership with Jahseon Alexander (4), to keep the innings afloat.
… MPs forced to “toe the party line”, not answerable to votersThe presence of Ministers in the National Assembly can serve to undermine established checks and balances; Members of Parliament (MPs) are not answerable to the voters and must ‘tow the party line’.The blistering findings are contained in a report funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), on Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance in Guyana. The report which was recently completed for review by USAID or the United States Government has found too that in Guyana’s politics and affairs, “the National Assembly itself does not play an effective oversight role.” The report also highlighted that there is now evident fractures in the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) government.The Tetra Tech ARD group contracted to prepare the report, found that since MPs are “answerable to their parties and not to voters, given the use of party lists for elections, MPs toe the party line.”The report pointed to the fact that in Guyana’s political system, Ministers of Government are also required to be MPs, “further reducing the separation of powers and undermining checks and balances…Thus, the Assembly is often referred to as a rubber stamp.”Pointing to the deep-seated political divisions that exists on the local landscape, the USAID report said, “an effective opposition veto of government legislation as well as the president’s non-assent to opposition-initiated legislation during the 2011–2014 Assembly created a political impasse that was not surmountable through negotiations and compromise, and which was what led to the early dissolution of the Assembly and elections in 2015.”The report has documented that now the coalition has a one-seat majority in the Assembly, the opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) is claiming that the government is flouting parliamentary rules.It points to the introduction of legislation by Government and voting in the same session, making it impossible for the Opposition to review the bill and to have a meaningful debate.FracturesThe report did find that, “Broadly speaking, the 2015 election results suggest to many observers an opportunity for change… The APNU+AFC ran in the 2015 elections as a coalition, on a reform agenda that includes constitutional reform.”The USAID report cautions however, “The extent of the intended reforms varies depending on whom is asked; according to senior party officials, everything is on the table, including the electoral system and parliament.”It said the coalition is a multi-party, multi-ethnic group, which may signify another shift in Guyanese politics away from ethnicity towards more issue-based politics, “however, fractures in the coalition are evident.”