08/14/2020, 10.55
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Jakarta, Jokowi uses pandemic to modernize the economy

With over 132,000 infected and almost 6,000 dead, Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s most affected nation by Covid-19 in. National GDP will contract by 2% on the back of the pandemic. The Indonesian president wants to improve food and energy security. A plan announced to strengthen the mineral processing industry.

Jakarta (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Indonesia wants to exploit the coronavirus pandemic to modernize its economy, the largest in Southeast Asia, announced President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo today to Parliament.

With over 132,000 infected and nearly 6,000 dead, Indonesia is the most affected nation in the region. The spread of Covid-19 has prompted the government to adopt repeated "lockdowns", which have brought the local economy to its knees.

In the second quarter of the year, gross domestic product contracted by 5.3%: it hadn't happened for more than 20 years. According to Fitch rating agency, the country's GDP will decrease by 2% in 2020; last year it grew by 5%.

The executive has allocated 690 trillion rupees (more than 39 billion euros) to fight the recessive effects of the pandemic. Jokowi, who delivered the annual State of the Union speech in traditional dress, indicated that the funds will be used primarily to improve the food supply chain.

The Indonesian leader also wants to reduce dependence on foreign sourcing of fuel. Indonesia is a producer and exporter of oil, but it is dependent on the import of refined products. To rebalance the balance of payments, the government intends to develop the use of biodiesel made from palm oil. The first stock was built last month by the energy company Pertamina.

With the aim of creating new jobs, Jokowi also announced a plan to strengthen the mineral processing industry, especially regarding the transformation of coal into gas.

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