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Improving welfare key to fighting inequality

September, 12 2017 | 01:49 am Improving welfare key to fighting inequality

The provision of basic welfare services is an essential ingredient in the fight against inequality within society.

This was a main theme of a talk by National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) head Bambang S. Brodjonegoro during the recent Forum Merdeka Barat 9 ( FMB9 ) media forum.

“This might be trivial for you all, but this is how people can improve their quality of life. If they can get out of extreme poverty, it will help reduce inequality,” Bambang said.

One aspect of basic welfare the government is working to improve is ensuring that all children have birth certificates.

This is an important issue involving welfare, as 9.9 million children aged up to 17 years do not have birth certificates.

“You should all know the significance of this. Without birth certificates, it is hard for the government to help citizens who have no legal status, the most basic of requirement of which is a birth certificate,” Bambang said.

Equally important in the provision of welfare is making sure everyone has access to sanitation and clean water. As many as 11.7 million households do not have access to decent sanitation, with 9.8 million of them similarly not having access to clean water.

“The recipe for reducing poverty, especially extreme poverty, is providing basic services in education and health, basic infrastructure (sanitation, clean water, habitation) and cash aid, if need be,” Bambang said. “It is a combination of the three that can slowly improve their lives and get them out of poverty.”

During the event, held at the Communication and Information Ministry in Central Jakarta on Sept. 8, Bambang and other key government figures outlined the government’s efforts and approaches in reducing inequality.

Among the numbers cited is unemployment, which is currently at the lowest it has ever been since the economic crisis.

As of February 2017, unemployment stood at 5.33 percent, or 7.14 million people, a significant reduction from 2005’s 11.9 million.

“We hope to get it down to 5 percent in 2018,” Bambang said.