Cases Up, ICU Capacity Concerns, BI Rates Stay Low, DG Tax Reorganization, Indonesian Foreign Policy
May 25, 2021 | AmCham Indonesia
Bed Occupancy Rates Spike Nationwide
The bed occupancy rate for isolation rooms and ICU units in hospitals has risen over the last three days across all provinces, according to the Ministry of Health. Azhar Jaya, of the Ministry’s Directorate General of Services, said four provinces recorded an occupancy rate average of above 50 percent, close to the World Health Organization’s threshold of 60 percent.
Officials have predicted that Covid-19 cases would rise sharply in the weeks following the long Idul Fitri holiday.
The four are North Sumatra (58 percent), West Kalimantan (58 percent), West Sumatra (53 percent), and Riau (53 percent). Azhar advised all Covid-19 hospitals in Indonesia to increase capacity by converting inpatient beds for Covid treatment and intensive care, to anticipate further spikes in cases. Bed conversion details are as follows.
Hospitals in regions with occupancy above 80 percent:
Minimum 40 percent for Covid-19 treatment and 25 percent for ICU.
Occupancy of 60-80 percent:
Minimum 30 percent for Covid-19 treatment and 15 percent for ICU.
Occupancy below 60 percent:
Minimum 20 percent for Covid-19 treatment and 10 percent for ICU.
The government has extended micro-scale community activity restrictions (PPKM) from June 1 to June 14, 2021, as a result of active Covid-19 cases increasing due to the Idul Fitri holiday and mudik homecoming. Cases are now averaging around 5,000 per day from the previous 3,800-4,000, Chairman of the Covid-19 Response and Economic Recovery Committee (KPC-PEN) Airlangga Hartarto said. Micro PPKM will also be introduced in four new provinces: Gorontalo, Maluku, North Maluku and West Sulawesi, meaning the policy applies in all provinces.
Bank Indonesia Keeps Benchmark Rate at All Time Low
Bank Indonesia’s (BI) Board of Governors has maintained the benchmark policy rate at 3.50 percent, and the overnight deposit facility and lending facility rates at 2.75 percent and 4.25 percent, respectively. This is the third time BI has kept the benchmark rate at its lowest since it was introduced in 2016, with the previous record low at 3.75 percent.
Vertical Reorganization for Directorate General of Taxes
Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani Mulyani inaugurated the vertical reorganization of the Directorate General of Taxes (DGT) yesterday, May 24. The ceremony, held at the DGT head office, was also attended by deputy finance minister Suahasil Nazara, and other officials.
The changes include: more proportional distribution of work, conducting core business at the tax service offices (KPP), increasing the number of medium tax offices (KPP Madya), and changes in the composition of taxpayers registered at KPP Madya.
The reorganization may have an impact on taxpayers, especially those whose local tax offices have undergone work adjustments. However, affected taxpayers should have already been notified by their old registered KPP. Those experiencing problems in fulfilling their tax obligations can contact DGT through the Tax Kring Agent on 1500200.
Mattel, the toy giant behind Barbie and Matchbox cars, has launched PlayBack, a new take-back, and recycling scheme for used toys in the US and UK. Consumers will be able to return used Barbie, Matchbox, and MEGA toys, with other Mattel brands set to be added in the future.
Mattel is using a free postal service to collect the toys. Consumers will be encouraged to visit the PlayBack website to print a free postage label. Once the toys reach Mattel, they will be sorted and separated by material before recycling, Components that cannot be recycled to produce new toy components will be either downcycled – turned into products that require lower-grade inputs – or used in energy from waste (EfW) facilities.
The firm is working to ensure all plastic products and packaging are 100 percent recycled, recyclable or bio-based by 2030. PlayBack contributes to both the recycled content and the recyclable product parts of this vision.
The announcement of PlayBack comes shortly after Mattel outlined plans for reaching its 2030 materials goal through its Matchbox brand, which makes die-cast cars. The plans made headlines, with Mattel partnering with Tesla to deliver a toy electric vehicle (EV) made using 99 percent recycled content and certified as carbon neutral.
Flood Warning: Manggarai Sluice Gate on Alert
Jakarta’s Manggarai Sluice Gate is on standby 3 (or alert status) according to the Jakarta Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPDP), which warned residents to anticipate the effects of rising water levels. BPDP reported the water level hit 765 cm with cloudy weather conditions at 4:00 WIB today, May 25. Cipinang Hulu Sluice Gate also received a standby 3 warning, but from 6:00 WIB dropped to standby 4 (normal).
The Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) predicts the capital will experience rain with lightning and strong winds in the afternoon and evening.
Indonesian National Board of Disaster Management (BNPB) chief Doni Monardo is to retire on June 1, and will be succeeded by Lieutenant General Ganip Warsito, Chief of Staff of the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI). State secretariat minister Pratikno said President Joko Widodo wants the BNPB to be led by active high-ranking military officers.
The Indonesia Factor in ASEAN’s Response to Myanmar
ASEAN’s capacity to spearhead a collective response to a regional crisis was tested at the Asean Leaders’ Meeting (ALM) in Jakarta on April 24 following the February coup in Myanmar, reports the East Asia Forum. Facing a backlash for its decision to invite Myanmar’s military junta leader General Min Aung Hlaing to the event, the stakes were high for ASEAN to find a unified stance on Myanmar’s rogue behavior. But it was Indonesia’s leadership that made possible the resulting five-point consensus.
Hours before the release of the ALM chairman’s statement, Indonesian President Joko Widodo held a press conference outlining Indonesia’s position on Myanmar, which was stronger than the ALM position. Widodo said the situation in Myanmar was “unacceptable and cannot be allowed to continue.” He also called on the military government in Myanmar to cease its use of violence, while the ALM statement made no direct reference to the junta.
Invest in Indonesia: Opportunities in Asia’s Economic Powerhouse
The Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is hosting a virtual interactive event: Invest in Indonesia: Opportunities in Asia’s Economic Powerhouse on June 3, 2021 at 21:00 WIB. This will be the second webinar in an ongoing series called Indonesia is Open for Business.
The event aims to illustrate what makes Indonesia so compelling to investors through discussions with policymakers and experts.
President Joko Widodo and senior members of his cabinet are scheduled to speak.
You can confirm your attendance through the link below. Registration will close on June 1.
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AmCham Update is AmCham's 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