JAKARTA - Rp 200,000 of monthly basic food allowance in the Basic Food Card programme during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is still not enough to meet food needs, said Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef) Executive Director Ahmad Tauhid.

“The allowance only makes up 15.94% of food spending for the poor, and 11.32% for vulnerable groups,” said Mr Tauhid in an online discussion on Wednesday (8/4) as quoted by Antara.

According to Mr Tauhid, on average poor people spend 52% of their overall spending on food, while vulnerable groups spend 62% of their overall spending on food. Ideally, he said, basic food allowance needs to cover 25%-35% of their spending on food.

In addition, a large number of commodities cannot be accessed through the Basic Food Card programme such as instant noodles, sugar, and cooking oil. Most of the basic food accessible through the programme are sources of carbohydrates such as rice and corn as well as animal protein sources including eggs and meat.

“The flexibility of basic food allowance during the pandemic is important because it will significantly impact on the poverty line and the number of poor people, which has been increasing throughout 2020,” said Mr Tauhid. (MS)