Investment: The Brits hold back

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City, City fringe & Docklands: Talk of the towns

first_imgWould you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.last_img

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Talk of the towns

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

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BI wants 50,000 merchants in East Nusa Tenggara to use QRIS payments in 2020

first_imgBank Indonesia (BI) wants 50,000 merchants in East Nusa Tenggara to use the digital Indonesian Standard Quick Response Code (QRIS) payment system by the end of this year.BI East Nusa Tenggara province head I Nyoman Ariawan Atmaja said that as of March, 10,533 merchants had implemented the QRIS system in the island province.”The merchants switched from the old QR to the new QRIS from August to December last year,” he said as quoted by Antara news agency on Wednesday. He said the new QR system could help develop micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the province.I Nyoman said he would continue to accelerate the implementation of the QRIS system to reach the 50,000-merchant target. He added that banks such as Bank Mandiri, Bank NTT and Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) had also helped carry out the QR switch.Transactions through the QRIS system have been promoted as being more efficient because they use one standardized code for all mobile phone digital payment applications.The government has said that the payment system is universal, easy, profitable and direct and that it aims to encourage transaction efficiency, accelerate financial inclusion, promote MSMEs and boost economic growth.The switch to QRIS is part of the central bank’s National QRIS Week event across Indonesia, which is being held from March 8 to 15 to promote cashless transactions in small businesses.The central bank has disseminated information about the technical details of the QRIS system and the registration process for small businesses that want to begin using it.As of February, the QRIS code had been adopted by about 2.7 million merchants across the country, according to central bank data, 18 percent of BI’s 15 million-merchant target by the end of 2020. (eyc)Topics :last_img read more

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Indonesia’s COVID-19 tally rises to 134 as 17 new cases reported

first_imgAs of Monday, eight people have recovered from the disease, while five have died.At least four other Indonesian provinces, namely Yogyakarta, Bali, North Sulawesi and West Kalimantan, have recorded COVID-19 cases.Yurianto further said in the press briefing that hospitalized COVID-19 patients would no longer be treated in separate rooms, except for patients with preexisting illnesses needing special equipment.“Most COVID-19 patients don’t need special equipment, so they will be put in the same room, but we have to first ensure that they’re all positive [for COVID-19],” he said, citing China’s method of treating COVID-19 patients on beds in a gymnastics hall.The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Sunday that the coronavirus — which has been declared a global pandemic — had spread to 143 countries or territories, with nine countries reporting their first cases. At least 5,735 people have died of COVID-19 worldwide, but more than 73,900 have recovered.Some prominent figures around the world – from celebrities to high-ranking officials — have tested positive for the virus, including Indonesian Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi. (aly)Topics : The government has announced 17 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed infections to 134 as of Monday afternoon.”Fourteen [new] cases were [reported] in Jakarta, one in West Java, one in Central Java and one in Banten,” Health Ministry Disease Control and Prevention Director General Achmad Yurianto told a press briefing on Monday.Yurianto did not reveal further details on the cases – such as the patients’ age, gender, nationality or the place of virus transmission – instead pointing the public to information on the Health Ministry’s website.last_img read more

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Gambia announces first coronavirus case

first_img“All passengers who came in the same flight or in contact with the confirmed case will be traced and undergo isolation,” the minister said. Samateh’s announcement came straight on the heels of a televised statement from President Adama Barrow, who announced anti-virus measures on Tuesday before The Gambia had a single confirmed case.The president announced a ban on public gatherings and the closure of schools for three weeks from Wednesday. Travellers from affected countries will also be isolated for two weeks, the president said.  Topics : The Gambia has recorded its first case of coronavirus, the country’s health minister said on Tuesday, after the government also announced measures to contain its spread. In a televised statement, Health Minister Ahmadou Lamin Samateh said officials in the tiny West African state had confirmed an infection in a young woman who had recently travelled from the United Kingdom.She went into self-isolation after feeling feverish, before being confirmed as a positive case.last_img read more

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first_img“[If mudik is not allowed] Lorena might still be able to operate, but what about smaller operators? If there is no support for them, they will be prone to closure and layoffs,” he added. Such government support could come in the form of vehicle ownership tax and income tax exemptions, fuel subsidies, as well as waivers for Health Care and Social Security Agency (BPJS) premium payments for workers, among other things. Read also: Forget ‘mudik’ this year, govt tells people as Idul Fitri moves closerTransportation Ministry Land Transportation Director General Budi Setyadi said on Friday that the ministry advised the government to ban or restrict mudik this year to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, with a final decision to be made at a Cabinet meeting on Monday. Topics : The pneumonia-like illness had infected more than 1,400 people and killed 122 in the country as of Monday.Budi said the ministry along with other stakeholders, such as the National Police Traffic Corps (Korlantas), were now preparing scenarios regarding the technical matters of the plan, including how it will be enforced. Budi also said the Transportation Ministry had considered providing support to affected operators if the policy was put in place. Every year, millions of Indonesians travel to their hometowns to celebrate the Islamic holiday of Idul Fitri. The tradition brings increased demand for all kinds of mass transportation.In 2019 alone, around 18.3 million passengers used mass transportation services for mudik in the seven days before and after Idul Fitri.Read also: COVID-19: ‘Mudik’ begins in Java while government mulls over travel banNational flag carrier Garuda Indonesia president director Irfan Setiaputra told The Jakarta Post on Friday that the company would support any policy implemented by the government even if it would hurt the airline’s business. “We will always support the government’s decisions, but of course we will give them input and recommendations too,” said Irfan. Even without the mudik ban, Garuda has already been forced to cancel 30 to 40 percent of its flights as demand for air travel decreases amid COVID-19 fears. In February, Irfan said the COVID-19 outbreak was projected to affect the company’s revenue significantly, as the airline has also been forced to cancel flights to various countries.State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir said in March that the ministry was in talks with the airline to restructure its sukuk worth US$496.8 million due in June as Garuda had been severely affected by the suspension of umrah (minor haj) and Australia’s decision to close its borders.Read also: ‘If you love them, don’t go home’: Urban migrants decide to stay put amid COVID-19Meanwhile, state-owned railway company PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI) spokesperson Yuskal Setiawan said the company was ready to support whatever decision the government made on mudik. KAI has independently started reducing its trip schedule in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.PT KAI has canceled 19 trips scheduled between March 23 to April 1. Meanwhile, the company will cancel 103 of its 532 daily trips beginning April 2, said Yuskal. Some 264,719 train tickets have also been canceled by passengers for journeys between March 23 and 30. The number of cancellations is 12 times higher than normal, he said in a statement on Monday.State-owned ferry operator PT ASDP Indonesia Ferry has also voiced support for the government’s plan to ban mudik.“Mudik is an important tradition, but in a time like this, our health is the most important thing,” ASDP planning and development director Christine Hutabarat said. “We are ready to face the consequences [of the mudik ban].”center_img Transportation operators have pledged to support the government’s plan to ban mudik [exodus] during the Idul Fitri holiday this year to curb the spread of COVID-19 but have said that policies are needed to protect small-scale transportation businesses.The managing director of intercity bus service provider Eka Lorena Transport, Dwi Rianta Soerbakti, said the company would support whatever decision the government made on mudik. “The decision to ban mudik must be followed by other policies that can help us, transportation operators, to survive. [This could be] in the form of incentives, as all employees and stakeholders will be affected by this decision,” he said on Friday.  last_img read more

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Ministry allocates $8.2b to purchase rubber, resin from farmers

first_imgThe Public Works and Housing Ministry (PUPR) has allocated Rp 125 billion (US$8.2 million) to purchase 10,000 tons of rubber and 800 tons of resin directly from farmers’ plantations as the COVID-19 pandemic drives down demand for the commodities and prices fall.The ministry has set aside Rp 100 billion to purchase the rubber, which will be used for asphalt mix for national road construction projects, PUPR Minister Basuki Hadimuljono said on Monday.“Each regional division of the ministry’s National Road Agency will purchase the rubber directly from farmers who are associated with the Rubber Products Processing and Marketing Unit [UPPB],” he said as quoted in a press statement. Prices for various commodities, including natural rubber, have plunged over the last several months as a result of weak global demand as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on.The Indonesian Rubber Producers Association (Gapkindo) rubber price fell by 26.7 percent annually in April to an average of $1.11 per kilogram, according to ASEAN Rubber Business Council (ARBC) data.In addition to rubber, the ministry has also allocated Rp 25 billion to purchase 800 tons of natural resin from state-owned forestry company PT Perhutani, the resin will be used in road-marking paint mixtures.The direct purchases are also a part of the ministry’s effort to boost its cash labor intensive program (PKT) to help strengthen people’s purchasing power in rural areas.The ministry has reallocated Rp 36.19 trillion of its Rp 120 trillion budget this year to help cushion the impact of the pandemic on the country. The largest portion of the reallocated budget, Rp 24.53 trillion, will go toward direct aid or activities directly linked with COVID-19 mitigation efforts.Meanwhile, a total of Rp 11.21 trillion of the reallocated funds will be allocated to the PKT program, which aims to employ 17,157 workers in rural areas.Topics :last_img read more

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Panic-buying returns as Melbourne braces for lengthy lockdown

first_img“To do otherwise is to pretend that this isn’t real, to pretend that we have other options.”Health authorities say they have linked many of the Melbourne cases to hotels where residents returning from overseas were being quarantined.Local media reported security guards had breached infection control protocols — including allegedly having sex with guests being held in isolation — prompting the government to replace the private contractors with prison staff and launch an inquiry.But there is also concern over the increased community transmission in Melbourne, with just 11 of Wednesday’s new cases linked to known outbreaks.Around 3,000 people in the city have already been locked inside their homes since Saturday in Australia’s strictest coronavirus response to date after a cluster emerged in a high-rise public housing estate.A total of 75 cases have been detected in the densely populated towers during a major testing blitz.Long queues of cars were backed up at Victoria’s border Wednesday after neighboring New South Wales closed the boundary for the first time in the pandemic — essentially sealing off the state from the rest of Australia.The hastily announced decision left residents of border towns scrambling to obtain permits to cross for work or other essential reasons, while school holiday travellers were rushing to return home.Australia has recorded almost 9,000 cases of COVID-19 and 106 deaths from the virus.  The country’s largest supermarket chain, Woolworths, said it had reimposed buying limits on items including pasta, vegetables and sugar after shoppers rushed to stores across Victoria state.Experts have warned that people everywhere will have to get used to the “new normal” of on-and-off restrictions as new clusters emerge and subside, while there are also concerns over the economic and health impacts the measures will bring.Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the Melbourne lockdown would cost the economy up to Aus$1 billion ($700 million) a week, telling public broadcaster ABC the burden would “fall heavily on businesses”.Restaurants and cafes will be limited to serving takeaway food, while gyms, beauty salons and cinemas will be forced to close again. Residents will be restricted to their homes except for work, exercise, medical care or to buy essentials — a return to social isolation that was only recently lifted.Professor Michael Kyrios, a clinical psychologist at Flinders University, warned that Victoria needed to brace for a “coming mental health crisis” as a result.”This will likely place the mental health care system in a precarious situation with very limited ability to mobilize resources in response to the increased incidence of mental illness arising from the COVID crisis,” he said.State Premier Daniel Andrews on Wednesday acknowledged the costs to Victoria’s 6.6 million residents, saying his job required him “to make not just the popular calls, but the really difficult, the hard calls”.”This is not the situation that anybody wanted to be in but it is the reality that we must confront,” he said. Shoppers in Australia’s second-biggest city stripped supermarket shelves Wednesday as millions in Melbourne prepared for a return to virus lockdown, with warnings the new restrictions will cost the economy Aus$1 billion a week.Five million residents were ordered back into a six-week lockdown beginning midnight Wednesday into Thursday as soaring community transmission of the coronavirus brings more than 100 new cases daily.A further 134 infections were detected in the past 24 hours — small in comparison to the tens of thousands in hard-hit countries like the US and Brazil but considered a major spike in Australia, which had otherwise been successful in containing COVID-19. Topics :last_img read more

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EU’s ‘moment of truth’ as leaders debate virus rescue

first_imgThe leaders of the European Union held their first face-to-face summit in five months Friday, but the reunion seems unlikely to bridge their divide over a post-virus economic rescue plan.Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel turned 66 on the day she and her 26 colleagues returned to Brussels, not to celebrate but to see whether in-person negotiations can answer a 750-billion-euro question.Arriving at the European Council, where the leaders will meet with reduced teams and observe social distancing, France’s President Emmanuel Macron described it as a “moment of truth”. “We are going through an unprecedented crisis, on the health but also the social level. We need much more solidarity and ambition,” he said.Merkel and Macron are backing a recovery package made up of a mixture of loans and grants to member states to revive economies shattered by the virus and preventive lockdowns.”It’s our European project which is in play here,” he said, before meeting the Netherlands’ Prime Minister Mark Rutte — who is holding out against doling out cash without tough conditions.”Solidarity, yes, from countries that can now free up more in their own budgets to fight the crisis, towards countries that can do less,” Rutte said. Topics : Loans or grants?The Netherlands has emerged as the most likely hold out, but Rutte’s position is backed to varying degrees by fellow members of the so-called “Frugal Four” — Sweden, Denmark and Austria.  Michel’s draft plan foresees a recovery package, made up of 250 billion in loans and 500 billion in grants and subsidies that would not have to be repaid by the recipient member states.The Frugals oppose grants, and want any loans to come with conditions attached.        This package is in addition to the planned 1,074-billion-euro seven-year EU budget from 2021 to 2027 that the leaders must also agree in the coming weeks or months.Aside from the governance of the recovery package, the leaders may also clash over efforts to make EU budget support contingent on member states respecting the rule of law.Hungary and Poland, which have been targeted by the European Commission over their alleged drift into authoritarianism, will fight to stop such a rule being written into the budget.  Difficult days “But at the same time, you can also ask those countries to do everything possible to solve this yourselves the next time. And you do this through reforms, in the labor market, in pensions etc.”The EU has been plunged into a historic economic crunch by the coronavirus crisis, and EU officials have drawn up plans for a huge stimulus package to lead their countries out of lockdown.But a determined band of northern capitals, led by the Netherlands, is holding out against handing cash to their southern neighbors without their commitment to reform.Friday’s talks are expected to run into Saturday and perhaps even Sunday, but few here are confident of a breakthrough, despite the tight timetable, so another summit may well follow later this month.”I think we have very hard and difficult two days today and tomorrow,” said Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas. Rutte put the chance of success this weekend at less than 50 percent.Summit host Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, has tried to create a sense of momentum after previous coronavirus-era videoconferences served only to underline the leaders’ differences.Michel called it a “difficult negotiation” and “not only a question of money but a question on the future of the European project.”European diplomats said the Netherlands would continue to insist that member states retain the right to veto any joint borrowing by the European Union to finance loans to members.And they want any loans or grants to come with strict conditions attached to ensure that heavily-indebted countries like Spain and Italy carry out reforms, under European Commission oversight.This is furiously opposed by the south. Both Michel and Merkel, whose country has just taken on the rolling six-month presidency of the EU, will struggle to broker any compromise.last_img read more

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