The COVID-19 pandemic has hit not only the health sector but also the economic sector. Indonesian government used to rely on the SME sector to support Indonesian economy, for example, during the monetary crisis in 1998. Unfortunately, at the moment the SME sector has become one of the most impacted sectors by the coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic hit multiple regions in Indonesia, including Semarang city which has recorded the highest number of COVID-19 positive cases in Central Java Province. According to Cooperatives and Small Medium Enterprises Agency of Semarang City, currently there are 1,538 SMEs impacted by COVID-19 in the city. The Semarang city administration carries out various programs of empowerment and social aid for SME practitioners as an effort to rescue the SME sector from collapsing. In order to learn the effectiveness of the government’s social aid programs for SMEs, PATTIRO Semarang, supported by the Open Contracting Program of HIVOS South East Asia conducted an online survey of SME practitioners in Semarang City. The survey also helps the organization that works on transparency issues to identify problems faced by SMEs in Semarang city amid COVID-19 pandemic.
PATTIRO Semarang surveyed 397 SME practitioners located in 16 districts from 13 May to 31 May 2020. However, from a total of 397 respondents, only 317 data returned and were able to be processed. This online survey was conducted following the timeline of social aid distribution arranged by Semarang city administration to get a factual response from the respondents. The survey results show that 48.3% of SMEs facing marketing issues, 30.7% facing financial issues, 15% facing other issues, and 5.6% facing production issues. The survey also found that 58.5% of SMEs received social aid from government with 44.9% of those confirmed to receive social aid in the form of staples while the rest granted forbearance from Kredit Wibawa, cash assistance, water bill relief from PDAM (Regional Drinking Water Company), et cetera. According to SMEs practitioners in Semarang city, the distribution and procurement process of social aid is quite transparent, accountable and participative.
Based on these findings, PATTIRO Semarang provides recommendations to Semarang city Administration and Regional People’s Representative Assembly (DPRD). PATTIRO Semarang encourages the government to issue a regulation on protection and recovery schemes for SMEs amid COVID-19 pandemic through relevant social aid programs. The government should broaden partnership with SMEs impacted by COVID-19 by utilizing the existing network, and the Regional People’s Representative Assembly (DPRD) needs to be more active in supervising the procurement and distribution of social aid for SMEs impacted by COVID -19 in Semarang city. To read the complete results of the survey from PATTIRO Semarang, please download the worksheet of Social Aid Program Procurement Policy for SMEs impacted by COVID-19 in Semarang city below.