The Relationship between Pandemic and Poverty in Papua

The Relationship between Pandemic and Poverty in Papua – The Central Statistics Agency (BPS) of Papua Province stated that the percentage of poor people in the region for the past six months has increased by 0.16 percent point, from 26.64 percent in March 2020 to 26.80 percent in September 2020.

A Head of BPS of Papua Province Adriana Helena Carolina in Jayapura, Monday, said the percentage of poor people in Papua for urban areas had increased by 0.12 percent point to 4.59 percent (4.47 percent in March 2020) and rural areas increased by 0.19. percent point to 35.69 percent (35.50 percent in March 2020).

The part of food commodities on the poverty line is much greater than that of non-food ones, both urban and rural areas. According to Adriana (2020), the contribution of the poverty line of food against the poverty line in urban areas is 67.40 percent, while in rural areas it is 78.80 percent.

Food commodities that have a major effect on the poverty line of Papua Province at urban areas are rice, filter clove cigarettes, mackerel, chicken eggs and cakes, then food commodities that have a major effect on the poverty line in rural areas are yams or sweet potatoes, rice, filter clove cigarettes, cassava and cassava leaves.

In the period of March 2020-September 2020, the Poverty Depth Index (P1) and the Poverty Severity Index (P2) showed an augmenting inclination from which indicates that the average expenditure of the poor tends to move away from the poverty line and inequality among the poor is increasing over the previous period.

Several factors related to the poverty rate during the March 2020-September 2020 period, include the Papuan economy in the third quarter of 2020 experiencing a contraction of minus 2.61 percent (y-on-y).

In addition, the Open Unemployment Rate (TPT) in August 2020 was increasing by 4.28 percent, compared to the condition in August of the previous year. Then, according to Bank Indonesia of Papua Province, the decrease of people’s purchasing power occured that was caused by a depression of economic activity in Papua Province and the realization of assistance. Social Cash (BST) in Papua Province is only 65.2 percent.

It is the distribution of Village Funds for the third phase of 2020 also getting delays, in which remained 13.05 percent of villages have not received village funds. This made in the distribution of BLT-Village Funds delays, also the distribution of basic food programs in Papua Province has just reached 59.5 percent, while other provinces in Indonesia had have reached more than 85 percent.

Not only that, the population of Papua in the first and third decile expenditures increased, this is probably because the population with the lowest expenditure levels during the pandemic only bought basic necessities in retail at a higher price, and in smaller quantities.

And in early September 2020, the City of Jayapura implemented a new normal, yet in the next two weeks the cases of positive COVID-19 among the population increased rapidly, which implicitly had an impact on the economy of the people in Jayapura City.

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