Vice President seeks to reduce poverty rate to 0%

Vice President Ma'ruf Amin. (Photo: Rayi Gigih/IO)

IO, Jakarta – Vice President Ma›ruf Amin is seeking to reduce poverty in Indonesia. In fact, he has the grandiose target of reducing poverty rates in Indonesia, at 9.41% in March 2019, to 0%. “Our poverty rate is 9 point something. We would like to get it low, to eliminate it all the way to 0%. Our target is total poverty elimination,” Ma’ruf said in his address to the participants of the Association oDa’i (Proselytizers) National Work Meeting at the Vice President’s Office, Jakarta, on Monday (09-03-2020).

However, Ma’ruf did not go into detail on how he expects to achieve the target or when. He merely stated his wish that every member of the ummat or adherents, everyone in Indonesia, should live well and present themselves as resisting poverty. “(The point is) how to get our people to prosper physically and spiritually,” he said. “In order to eliminate poverty from Indonesia, da’is and other religious figures need to play their role and participate actively, as Islam teaches its adherents to help each others

Ma’ruf even went as far to say that poverty elimination is a fardu kifayah mandatory action. This is an action that all adherents of Islam must do, but it takes only one Muslim to do it for everybody else not to need to do it. “In fact, if citizens can no longer eat, or have insufficient clothing, health, education, or other basic necessities, the obligation is no longer fardu kifayah, but fardu ain vidual obligation that everyone must perform without exception. What I’m saying is that we need to eliminate poverty, and according to shari’a law, it is a fardu kifayah obligation,” he said.

Statistics Indonesia (Badan Pusat Statistik – “BPS”) records Indonesia’s poor in March 2019 at 25.14 million citizens, down 810,000 citizens from that of the same period in the previous year. In terms of percentage, the March 2019 poor population was 9.41% or down from the previous year’s rate at 9.82%. 

Vice President Ma’ruf Amin has received input from the management of Indonesian Cooperative Association on how to keep Indonesia’s cooperatives relevant in the digital era. This method will help reduce poverty, perhaps even to 0%. Head of Indonesian Cooperative Association Nasari Syariah Chandra Saritua stated that this would require a cooperative digital ecosystem that connects wakaf or independent public banks, micro financial institutions (lembaga keuangan mikro – “LKM”), Village-Owned Enterprises (Badan Usaha Milik Desa – “Bumdes”), and cooperatives themselves with a 5.0 digital aggregator.

They must use their self-made app, the Super App. It is a business network that lets members of cooperatives meet and interact with workers of cooperatives everywhere. “We are creating a digital marketplace with the Super App. We want to provide cooperatives with a digital platform, which would also include a fully operational e-wallet,” Chandra said to the press after his meeting with Vice President Ma’ruf in the Vice President’s Office in Jakarta on Tuesday (10/03/2020).

With the system in place, members of cooperatives would not only have the conventional digital wallet widely available nowadays, they can transact with each other as well. The app contains menus for payment, a database of cooperative members, and wide market access, all of which is supported by accurate information. Chandra stated that if cooperatives themselves own the app, there would be no false platforms that frequently appear in fintech. “Cooperatives’ legal entities are regulated by Law; it is impossible for them to be faked. Cooperatives can be connected with each other, that’s for sure. However, using a digital platform, members of one cooperative can connect with members of other cooperatives with membership in the platform. No matter what product they have to offer, they can get members of other cooperatives,” he said. “Our target is to launch the app by Eid-el-Fitr, with a target user of 20 million members from 100 cooperatives. (Des)