President to raise budget for poverty alleviation programs

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo said on Monday that he would raise the budget for programs that were linked to alleviate poverty.

"I want the 2018 state budget to be focused on efforts to overcome problems related to poverty. Budget for this should be increased," the president said in a cabinet plenary session at the State Palace.

The meeting was also attended by the Military Chief General Gatot Nurmantyo and Police Chief General Tito Karnavian.

In addition, he noted that it should also focus on efforts to overcome problems on unemployment and economic inequality.

"This will link to investment. I think we will start with issues on social debt and establishment of micro endowment bank in October," he remarked.

The head of state also discussed issues on the relief efforts for evacuees of Mount Sinabung eruption in North Sumatra and Mount Agung in Bali.

"Those who are affected by the eruption of Mount Sinabung and Mount Agung should get maximum help," he added.

In addition to the internally displaced persons, the president has also called for the humanitarian aid for Rohingya refugees in Myanmar and Bangladesh.

"Regarding the situation in Rakhine State and refugees in Bangladesh as well as in Myanmar, I will express my concern, and we will help our brothers who are suffering there," he explained.

After the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG) of the Energy and Mineral Resource Ministry raised the alert status of Mount Agung to level IV, the authority has secured the area of 9 kilometers from the mountain and evacuated residents of 28 villages in the area.

The number of refugees as of Friday has reached 144,380, accommodated in 430 sites in eight districts and one city in Bali. The number has doubled from its previous total of 70 thousand refugees.

According to the International Organization on Migration (IOM), the number of Rohingya refugees as of Sept 16 has reached 24 thousand people, accommodated in 3,028 shelters.

The number has continued to increase in Bangladesh, and the authority is looking to establish new sites for the refugees.

Indonesia has been sending its humanitarian aid to Myanmar and Bangladesh since early September.

Source: ANTARA News

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