Indonesia to disburse over $800 million to low-income workers

Workers with monthly incomes of less than 3.5 million rupiah (S$330) will receive one million rupiah under the scheme. PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA (REUTERS) - The Indonesian authorities will distribute a total of 8.8 trillion rupiah (S$827 million) in cash to low-income workers to help cushion the impact of rising food and energy prices, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto said on Tuesday (April 5).

Workers with monthly incomes of less than 3.5 million rupiah will receive one million rupiah under the scheme, Mr Airlangga said after a meeting with President Joko Widodo.

The surge in global commodity prices due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict was providing more revenue in resource-rich Indonesia, but the government needed to mitigate the impact of higher food and energy prices at home, Mr Airlangga said.

"The directive from the President is for the social protection to be reinforced," he said in a video statement.

The cash will be distributed to 8.8 million workers, while the government is also considering giving money to 12 million "micro businesses", Mr Airlangga said.

Indonesia's inflation rate in March hit its highest in two years due to rising food prices, and economists warned that prices could creep up further as the government raised value-added tax and the state energy firm hiked the price of 92-octane petrol.

Separately, Senior Minister Luhut Pandjaitan said that the government may gradually adjust prices of 90-octane petrol and subsidised liquefied petroleum gas, local media reported.

Last week, Mr Widodo said the government would also distribute cash to 20.5 million low-income households and 2.5 million food stall operators to help them cope with high cooking oil prices.

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