The deadly novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has not only taken a massive number of lives but has also wreaked havoc on economies worldwide, and Indonesia is not exempt from the repercussions.
Around 2.8 million Indonesian workers have been laid off due to the outbreak, said the Director-General of Development, Training, and Productivity, Bambang Satrio Lelono, at the Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration on Tuesday (April 14).
Sectors hit hardest by the pandemic include aviation and tourism.
Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Wishnutama Kusubandio estimated earlier this month that around 1,500 hotels across the archipelago have closed down temporarily, affecting the future of hundreds of thousands of employees in the hospitality sector.
To mitigate the impact of the pandemic on Indonesia’s economy and its workforce, the Indonesian government has introduced a pre-employment card — or kartu pra-kerja — targeting young jobseekers and workers.
Around 6 million workers will be entitled to the card, up from 5.6 million workers under a previous collaboration mechanism involving the Government and Social Security Provider Body for Employment (BPJS Tenaga Kerja).
“As many as 400 thousand laid-off workers will be assisted under a scheme provided by BPJS Tenaga Kerja, aside from the 5.6 million workers under the Government’s pre-employment card program,” Askolani said via video conference during a dialogue titled “Social Assistance Amid COVID-19 Pandemic” on 8 April in Jakarta.
The registration for the first period of the pre-employment card recipients has been opened since last Saturday (11 April) until tomorrow (16 April), with a quota of 164,872 recipients.
Many job seekers find it difficult to register
Just a day after the registration was opened, many young job-seekers found it hard to register despite inserting the right usernames and passwords.
A TOC correspondent based in Jakarta tried to upload the images of scanned identity card — or kartu tanda penduduk (KTP) — and snap a selfie with the KTP. However, repeated tries proved to be unsuccessful.
A freelancer based in the satellite city of Depok in West Java advises users not to upload the images during peak hours.
“Don’t upload in the mornings as the server might be busy. I uploaded the files at 3.00 am, and finally, I could register and do the test,” he told the TOC correspondent.
What does a pre-employment card offer?
The card provides incentives worth Rp 3,550,000 (S$321.45) per individual.
According to Denni Puspa Purbasari, the president director of the program’s management, Rp 1,000,000 will be allocated to finance training.
Rp 600,000 (S$54.37) will be used to provide incentives for post job-training for four months.
Each recipient can take more than one types of training as long as the cost of the courses does not exceed the Rp 1,000,000 limit, Purbasari added.
The government is partnering with several marketplace platforms such as maubelajarapa.com, ruangguru.com, Tokopedia and Bukalapak.
The aforementioned tech companies will provide various types of training based on skills and interests, such as foreign language skills, marketing, data science, and other skills currently in demand.
The courses will be delivered online as long as the COVID-19 situation remains at a dangerous level in Indonesia.
As of Tuesday (14 April), the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has reached 4,839, with 426 people in recovery and 459 fatalities. The virus has spread to all 34 provinces in the country.
Do laid-off workers need online courses?
While the Indonesian government’s effort to provide training incentives are commendable, experts opine that the launching of pre-employment card amid the COVID-19 would not be entirely useful, as productive age groups need financial aid more than online training at the moment.
Head of Public Policy at the Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) Sutrisno Iwantono told CNBC on Wednesday (April 15): “The subsidy provided in forms of online training is not right at this time. People have lost their jobs, and they now need food, not online training.”
As Indonesia has several government-funded skill training centres (BLK), it would be better for the government to optimise such centres by providing training programmes that can meet the requirements of today’s job market, Hanif Muhammad, a researcher at the Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (INDEF), told Sukabumi Update last Saturday (April 11).