Jokowi Gets the Jab, Retno Goes Global, Mining & Energy Investment Shrinks
Jan 13, 2021 | AmCham Indonesia
Jokowi Receives First Vaccination
The long-awaited drive to vaccinate Indonesia’s massive population against COVID-19 began today, Jan 13, when President Joko Widodo rolled up his sleeve and received the first injection of the vaccine made by Sinovac at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta. He was followed by several ministers.
National Agency of Drug and Food Control (BPOM) Head Penny K Lukito said any side effects are mild to moderate and may include pain, irritation, and swelling, while systemic side effects include muscle pain and fever
During the first phase of the vaccination program, the government has prioritized health workers, support personnel at health service facilities, TNI/Polri, legal officers, and other public servants. The COVID-19 Task Force confirmed people who already have been infected by the coronavirus will not be included during the first stage of vaccinations.
Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi has been chosen to lead the COVAX AMC Engagement Group, a corona vaccine program initiated by the World Health Organization. COVAX is a mechanism designed to ensure access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide in a fast, fair, and equitable manner. At least 75 countries said they are willing to join the facility to support the acceleration and development of vaccines.
An editorial published in The Jakarta Post today, Jan 13, hails the launch of the COVID-19 vaccination program in Indonesia, but also calls for greater transparency and more detailed information from BPOM on the CoronaVac vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech, calling it essential to build public confidence and stifle the spread of harmful disinformation.
BPOM has confirmed the vaccine is safe, halal, and meets World Health Organization (WHO) requirements, but the Post has called for greater transparency over why CoronaVac was selected over other vaccines, and for BPOM to publish the interim report on the vaccine trials in Indonesia.
The editorial emphasizes this information is required to boost public confidence in the vaccine and stymie attempts by skeptics to spread negative information and rumors about the vaccination program.
The paper also notes that with infection numbers surging, the government should also continue its call for physical distancing, hand washing, and mask-wearing, as it will take time for vaccination to have a widespread effect.
LightUp Indonesia was an initiative brought together by YCAB Foundation, FAB Group, Do-It, and supported by PLN as a response to COVID-19. Due to the pandemic, many families from marginalized communities have taken the brunt of the economic impact. Loss of income and jobs have left many struggling with expenses such as electricity a burden, although a necessity we all take for granted.
Without electricity, businesses close; children can’t continue their studies from home with online schooling becoming more relevant.
For four months, beginning in April 2020, Light Up Indonesia campaigned to raise funds to pay the electricity bills of families who were PLN’s 450VA customers and provide a 50 percent subsidy to 900VA customers. The initiative came to an official close on Oct 2, 2020, and successfully accumulated $672,871 to pay the electricity bills of 100,077 families in 34 provinces.
This would not have been possible without the support of many: Benih Baik and Dompet Kemanusian Dompet Group in helping raise funds, Indika Foundation in matching donations from individual donors, Do-It and UniGold as technology partners, as well as FAB group as communications and media strategist.
Energy and mining investments in Indonesia in 2020 shrunk 26.6 percent year-on-year to $24.4 billion, the lowest in at least five years, as the COVID-19 pandemic saw the cancellation or delay of a number of big-ticket projects, which compounded a long-standing trend of lower investment due to regulatory and market-driven factors.
The electricity sector was the hardest hit with a 42.15 percent decline, followed by mining (40 percent), renewables (17.7 percent), and oil and gas (6.21 percent), Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources data shows.
But analysts say the pandemic was not the only cause.
“Investments falling below target due to the pandemic is understandable. But I also see that low investments arose from unresolved issues not related to the pandemic,” Fabby Tumiwa, executive director of the Institute of Essential Services Reform told The Jakarta Post.
“The implementation of the [Omnibus] Job Creation Law will be the litmus test, because this is the law the government has been hyping up as a means of structural reform to boost investment,” he added.
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We Still Need Your Support to Shelter the Front Line
AmCham Indonesia and Habitat for Humanity have joined forces in an initiative called Sheltering Those Who Care for Us, a program to provide temporary quarters in hotels for Indonesian medical workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our program has helped not only medical workers in Jakarta, but also Tangerang and Surabaya; we are now planning to expand to Sulawesi.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still spreading, medical workers are working a lot harder than before. In these difficult times, they often cannot go back home for fear of infecting family members or being rejected by their local communities. As a result, they are forced to sleep in hospitals without a proper bed, also increasing the possibility of getting infected.
By donating, we will increase the overall capability of Indonesia to treat COVID-19. Habitat will match individual hospitals with hotels on an as-needed basis.
The AmCham Office is on work from home status and all face-to-face meetings and events have been postponed. We are having a number of meetings online using the Zoom platform. You will be notified of virtual meetings as they are scheduled.
What is Your Company Doing on COVID-19?
Please let us know what measures your company may be taking in the form of donations and other assistance to help Indonesia during this time of confusion and concern. Contact [email protected] with your news. We would like to publicize the ways that our AmCham companies are pitching in.
Stay safe, call a doctor if you have a high fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. Stay healthy above all else.
AmCham Update is a regular newsletter on developments related to the pandemic crisis and other issues in Indonesia. It is edited by AmCham Managing Director A Lin Neumann and written by the AmCham Staff. Paul L Goddard is the Managing Editor.