Poverty rate in Indonesia rises due to COVID-19 hinh anh 1In South Sumatra, Indonesia (Photo: Antara)

Jakarta (VNA)
– Indonesia saw the poverty rate rise to 9.78 percent in March from 9.22 percent last September, with 26.42 million people living below the poverty line as of March, according to Statistics Indonesia (BPS).

The BPS said around 1.63 million Indonesians fell into poverty in March as the COVID-19 pandemic took its toll on the poor across the country.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a great toll on economic activity and adversely affecting people’s livelihoods,” said BPS head Suhariyanto in a recent virtual press briefing.

He said the rise in staple prices played a huge role in the poverty rate, pointing to the rice price as the biggest factor, followed by cigarettes, poultry and instant noodles.

The national poverty line is set at 2.1 million Rp (145.8 USD) of income per family per month.

The Indonesian government expects 4 million people to fall below the poverty line this year, making for a total of 28 million poor in the nation, or around 10.6 percent of the population.

In line with the rising poverty rate, the Gini ratio, which reflects inequality, rose to 0.381 in March, from 0.380 in September last year, as the gap between the rich and the poor remained high amid the pandemic.

The government is allocating a 695.2 trillion Rp stimulus package to prevent greater economic fallout and to cushion the pandemic’s blow on poor communities by strengthening social safety net programmes and the country’s healthcare system./.