by Elisa Valenta
President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo called on Monday for immediate debt relief for developing countries to help them free up funds to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
"Debt relief and debt repayment obligations from official creditors (for developing countries) need to be re-diverted into financing the handling of COVID-19," Jokowi says during High Level Meeting held by 39 heads of states that are part of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
Jokowi emphasizes to all NAM countries member to solidify unity against COVID-19 pandemic and asks equal access for developing countries to medicine for treating the new coronavirus.
Indonesia had a debt-to-GDP ratio of 30.17% at the end of 2019, lower than that of many countries like Japan (238%), Singapore (112%), the United States (106%), and Malaysia (50.7%). Under the Law No. 17/2013 on state finance, the government must maintain a debt-to-GDP ratio of below 60%.
However, this year, the Finance Ministry projected Indonesia’s debt-to-GDP ratio could soar to 36% due to a wider fiscal deficit. The country will revise this year's state budget with the assumption of lower income and higher spending against the backdrop of the coronavirus outbreak.
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