An observer from the Institute of Development of Economics and Finance (INDEF), Bhima Yudhistira Adhinegara, said the government’s plan to require 25 percent of the state civil servants in seven ministries under the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment to work from Bali (work from Bali / WFB) seems to be financing the state civil servants for traveling.
“Is this ASN working or traveling? In the end, it will finance state civil servants for traveling,” said Bhima, Sunday (23/5).
Bhima is sure that this policy will not have a significant impact on promoting economic recovery in Bali. The problem is, Bali’s economy is very dependent on foreign tourists.
According to Bhima, the impact of the drop in foreign tourists in Bali cannot be replaced by 25 percent of state civil servants in the seven ministries working from the Island of the Gods. The key to Bali’s recovery is controlling Covid-19 and improving mobility.
“The economic impact on Bali is predicted to be small. The economic base in Bali is tourism, especially foreign tourists. The sharp decline in foreign tourists to minus 100 percent on an annual basis as of March 2021 at the door of Ngurah Rai Airport cannot be replaced that easily [with a policy of mandatory 25 percent state civil servants working from Bali.], “explained Bhima.
After all, Bhima projects, this policy will be enjoyed by state civil servants. Meanwhile, at the same time, the State Revenue and Expenditure Budget (APBN) has the potential to swell because of this policy.
Instead of bringing state civil servants to Bali, Bhima said that it would be better if all the remaining government official travel allocations were directly provided in the form of wage subsidies assistance to tourism workers or providing a form of direct stimulus to affected entrepreneurs.
Interviewed separately, the Chief Economist of BCA, David Sumual, noted that the plan for 25 percent of state civil servants to work from Bali would not automatically make the economy fully positive. But, at least this plan will help a little to improve the economy on the Island of the Gods.
“This idea is good enough, to boost the local economy. From a domestic perspective,” said David.
According to David, 25 percent of state civil servants will boost hotel and restaurant revenues in Bali. Thus, the business sector in Bali is moving again and the potential for unemployment can be slightly resolved during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“At least it can be an economic bearing for Bali. The economy of Bali is very badly hit,” explained David.
However, in line with Bhima, David also acknowledged that the government budget will swell with this policy. However, like it or not the government has to do it.
“[The government budget] now has to be wasteful. If it is not spent, the economy will not move because everything is holding back, investment is holding back, everything is holding back. So there must be an extraordinary push like this,” he explained.
He projected that Bali’s economy would still be negative in the third quarter of 2021. However, the contraction will improve compared to the first quarter of 2021.
“This is a short-term solution, but it depends on how long and the number of state civil servants working from Bali,” said David.
For information, Bali’s economy was minus 9,85 percent in the first quarter of 2021. Bali’s economy seems to be getting worse compared to the first quarter of 2020 which was only minus 1,2 percent.
The Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Panjaitan initiated a work from Bali policy to restore tourism in Bali which was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The commitment to the work from Bali or WFB program was stated in the memorandum of understanding on Support for the Provision of Accommodations for Tourism Improvement in The Nusa Dua Bali, last Tuesday (18/5).
Photo: hotel Ayodya Bali