The government has implemented several strategies aimed at reducing economic inequality in Indonesia, according to National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) head Bambang S. Brodjonegoro.
“The first is a normative one, that is, ensuring public participation in social, political and economic contexts,” Bambang said during the recent Forum Merdeka Barat 9 media gathering at the Communications and Information Ministry.
Bambang is referring to providing quality employment. A quality job, according to Bambang, is one that provides 40 hours a week of work in a formal sector. “It shouldn’t be one of those jobs where you work an hour a day in an informal sector,” Bambang said.
Another government strategy for reducing inequality is making the ownership of financial and non-financial assets easier, especially for the parts of society lacking in assets. “That is why the President is giving land certificates to the people. One reason is to strengthen the people’s asset ownership,” Bambang said.
Ensuring access to public services is also important for increasing the quality of human resources. The government has to ensure this access for each citizen from as early as when they are still in the womb.
The goal is to ensure that Indonesian babies are born healthy. “Even though they are born from poor families, they can go up to the middle class with proper access to public services,” Bambang said.
Another effort that must be taken is ensuring that the redistribution of sources of state revenues from taxes is equitable. The government must ensure that taxes are used for equitable development. “But one thing that can perpetuate inequality is if people don’t pay their taxes,” Bambang said.
Agrarian reform is also important for reducing economic inequality. The average farmer has no more than half a hectare of land, making it difficult for them to increase their income.
“As a result, poverty is still a problem for farmers. That is why they need to be empowered, at least by giving them more land to work on,” he said.