Industrial employment in Vermont has fallen 5.6 percent since the beginning of the recession, according to Manufacturers’ News, Inc. MNI reports Vermont lost 2,894 manufacturing jobs since December 2007, with 1,197 jobs lost between December 2007and December 2008 and 1,697 industrial jobs from 2008 to December of 2009. Over the same period of time, Vermont lost 154 manufacturers, or nearly ten percent of its industrial companies. Looking back even further, over an eight-year period Vermont lost 9,921 industrial jobs or 17% of its industrial employment.Manufacturers’ News reports Vermont is now home to 1,516 manufacturers employing 48,360 workers. Vermont’s losses are smaller compared to those seen in other New England states with Maine’s industrial sector down 7.7 percent, New Hampshire’s down 7.5 percent and Massachusetts’ down 6.4 percent, according to earlier MNI reports.”As with the entire nation, the recession continues to hit Vermont’s core sectors, while the faltering housing market has affected industries such as wood products and building products,” says Tom Dubin, President of the Evanston, IL-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912.Employment in the furniture/fixtures sector experienced the sharpest decline, down 33.4 percent over the past twenty-four months, due mostly to layoffs at Ethan Allen.MNI reports electronics remains Vermont’s largest manufacturing sector by employment with 8,259 jobs, with no significant change reported over the two years. Second-ranked food manufacturing accounts for 5,234 jobs, down 8.6% over the survey period, while third-ranked industrial machinery and equipment accounts for 4,508 jobs, down 3.8% over the past twenty-four months.Most other sectors in Vermont lost jobs within the past two years and include transportation equipment, down 15.4%, following the closure of auto supplier Lydall Inc., and layoffs at NSK Steering, among others. Stone/clay/glass fell 14.7%; textiles/apparel were down 11.3%; lumber/wood down 10%; printing/publishing down 7.9% and chemicals/allied products down 7.1%. Slight gains were seen in paper products, up 2.8%; rubber/plastics up 2% and fabricated metals up 1.8%Despite the losses, some bright spots have emerged recently including the openings of Vermont Wood Pellet Co.; rubber protective gear maker AirBoss in Milton; and BEMAG Transformers, which opened a factory in St. Albans Industrial Park in early 2009.MNI’s city data shows Essex Junction is the state’s top city for manufacturing employment, accounting for 6,905 industrial jobs, up 4.5% over the past twenty-four months. Second-ranked Burlington accounts for 3,790 industrial jobs, down 8.7% over the past two years. Industrial jobs in Rutland declined 2.2%, with the city home to 2,120 jobs. Milton is home to 1,929 jobs, up 1.5%, while jobs increased another 1.5% in South Burlington, with the fifth-ranked city representing 1,710 of Vermont’s industrial jobs.Detailed profiles of Vermont’s 1,516 manufacturers and 274 industrial distributors can be found in the 2010 Vermont Manufacturers Register, available in print for $77 and on CD-ROM from $95. Each profile provides up to 30 facts, including vital contact information (phone, web, e-mail), 4,755 executives by name and title, product(s) manufactured, annual sales, number of employees, and more. Visitors to mnileads.com may generate custom profiles of manufacturers using thirteen different criteria, including area or zip code, county, SIC, sales volume, number of employees, and more.Manufacturers’ News, Inc., publisher of manufacturers’ directories since 1912, compiles and produces manufacturing guides, statistics and databases for all 50 states. MNI also maintains IndustryNet.com, an industrial search engine designed specifically for locating manufacturers and suppliers nationwide. For more information, contact Manufacturers’ News, Inc., 1633 Central St., Evanston, IL, 60201, 847-864-7000, FAX 847-332-1100. Information also available on facebook and twitter.SOURCE Manufacturers’ News, Inc. 1.25.2010. EVANSTON, Ill,/PRNewswire/ —
In Vermont USDA Rural Development is investing over $228.8 million, of which $106.4 million is funding small businesses, water and wastewater infrastructure, community facilities like libraries and community centers, and housing. An additional $ 122.4 million has been awarded for broadband infrastructure to bring better service to rural communities.USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager issued a report on October 20 about how the agency’s distribution of loan and grant funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery) has helped rural residents throughout the nation. Rural Development has awarded $21.2 billion in Recovery funds through 95,000 loans and 2,500 grants. The report estimates that millions of business owners, agricultural producers, Internet users, and thousands of homeowners will benefit, and over 300,000 jobs are being created or saved. ‘With Rural Development’s loans and grants we have leveraged our Recovery Act funds to ensure the greatest bang for the taxpayer’s buck, allowing our agency to make unprecedented and lasting investments in rural America,’ said Tonsager. ‘I am proud of what we have accomplished over the last two years toward building livable, innovative and sustainable rural communities.’‘USDA’s investment of Recovery funding provided immediate jobs in construction and permanent jobs in many other industry sectors while laying the foundation for a sustainable economic recovery in our rural communities,’ said USDA Rural Development State Director Molly Lambert.For example, the Brattleboro Food Co-op received a USDA Rural Development Business and Industry award to guarantee a $4.2 million loan from Peoples United Bank. Members of the Brattleboro Co-op also raised $1 million in shareholder loans for the new $8.9 million facility. The funding will allow the cooperative to expand its existing 17,000 sq. ft. retail facility into a newly constructed, energy-efficient 33,847 sq. ft. building in the heart of downtown Brattleboro. The project will create 9 new high quality jobs, support 100 existing well-paying jobs at the coop and create 400 indirect construction jobs. In conjunction with the Co-op development, the Windham Housing Trust will develop 24 units of affordable housing on floors 3 and 4. The coop was founded in 1975 as a member-owned cooperative in leased space and serves as a hub for regional sustainable food. It provides a local market for 146 local farmers and 56 local food processors.Business loan guarantees in two additional communities totaling $ 11.2 million leveraged $23 million in private capital, creating 34 high quality jobs and strengthening the future for 105 existing jobs. A Business Enterprise Grant in the amount of $65,000 was issued to the Randolph Area Community Development Corp. to assist 2 businesses with expansion and feasibility efforts. The grant was matched with $183,500 of community funding for a total project cost of $248,500. The project will create 3 new jobs and strengthen 23 existing jobs in the community.Bethel residents recently gathered to celebrate the restoration and re-opening of the old Town Hall, made possible by a Recovery loan of $984,000 matched with $316,000 in private and other public investment. ‘The building has been drawn out of functional obsolescence and fabulously restored with its authentic features retained,’ said Bethel Town Manager Delbert Cloud. Designed in 1891 by Montpelier architect George Guernsey the building was home to the school basketball team, traveling performers, town meetings and Saturday roller skating. The school has its own gymnasium these days, but residents are once more enjoying community events in the grand building standing tall on Main Street. \In addition to the Bethel town hall restoration, Recovery funding of $7.3 million assisted twenty-four community projects throughout the state such as daycare and family services facilities, libraries, health centers, homeless shelters and fire and emergency equipment.Nine Water and Wastewater projects were awarded to seven communities for $35,633,300 in Recovery funding, creating or retaining 140 jobs.In an otherwise sluggish housing recovery, the combination of Recovery funds and normal year USDA appropriations for housing loans is helping more Vermont households achieve home ownership than in any year since 1994. Nearly 550 households are being assisted with $90 million in loans with the Recovery Act providing over $47 million of this amount.In Vermont the agency helped almost 550 households (an increase of 66 households over 2009) by using over $70 M in Loan Guarantees and $20 M in Direct loans.The link to Rural Development and the Recovery Act: Working For Rural Communities can be found at the USDA Rural Development homepage: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/Home.html(link is external). President Obama signed The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 into law last year. It is designed to jumpstart the nation’s economy, create or save millions of jobs and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so our country can thrive in the 21st century. The Act includes measures to modernize our nation’s infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable health care, provide tax relief, and protect those in greatest need. For information about USDA’s Recovery Act efforts visit www.usda.gov/recovery(link is external). More information about the Federal government’s efforts on the Recovery Act is available at www.recovery.gov(link is external).Source: USDA. 10.20.2010 Through its Rural Development mission area, USDA administers and manages more than 40 housing, business, and community infrastructure and facilities programs through a network of 6,100 employees located in the nation’s capital and 500 state and local offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $142 billion in loans and loan guarantees. #
Chris Keeling races in the high school mtb series. On a late spring morning, nearly 30 high school students clad in spandex jerseys emblazoned with school logos pedaled eagerly along the rolling, root-laden trails of Walnut Creek Park, just south of Charlottesville. The race was the championship of the new six-race Virginia High School Mountain Bike Series—one of only a handful of interscholastic mountain bike race programs in the country.Peter Hufnagel, a dean at the private preparatory Miller School in Charlottesville, started the series as an offshoot of his school’s growing endurance athletics program. Hufnagel reached out to other high schools and found immediate interest from others willing to put together mountain bike teams. In its first year, the series attracted up to 40 riders per race from Virginia schools.“We have a group of high school mountain bikers that are fully committed and really excited about racing,” says Hufnagel. “We created a weekday race series that makes mountain biking very similar to traditional high school sports.”At the series finale, parents like Harrisonburg’s Gary Ritcher hiked through the woods to watch their kids race and offer support. The series courses are designed to be spectator-friendly, so parents can watch kids tackle twisting, moderately technical singletrack. Gary’s son, Cameron, finished sixth overall in the series, racing for team Rocktown, a composite crew from Harrisonburg-area high schools.“Cameron is always on his bike,” says Ritcher. “He even figured out an off-road route to school. These races have given him a competitive goal with his peers.”Before the series was created, Cameron Ritcher’s only option was to race against older, more experienced riders at the rugged Massanutten Hoo-Ha! and other regional races. This was part of Hufnagel’s initial motivation.“Most kids just getting into mountain biking are forced to race against adults,” he says. “When they can race against their peers, it’s less intimidating.”Races in the series were held on different courses near each participating school, so each team could host a race on their home turf. But Hufnagel, an experienced racer, also wanted the kids to experience the best of biking. He had the rider with the most points wear a leader’s jersey, and at the first series race, professional mountain bikers Jeremiah Bishop and Andy Guptill took the kids on a practice lap and explained race strategies.It’s helped kids like 13-year-old Campbell Rutherford, also of Harrisonburg, become serious about mountain biking at an early age. 1 2
On 3 February, the Brazilian government condemned the arrest of two Brazilian journalists in Egypt and called for the political crisis in that country to be overcome through “institutional and democratic reform,” according to an official note distributed by the foreign ministry. Brazil protested the arrest of the reporters Corban Costa, from Radio Nacional, and Gilvan Rocha, from TV Brasil, and expressed its confidence that the authorities “will take measures to guarantee the civil liberties and physical integrity of the population and of foreigners present in the country.” In the note, the Brazilian government said that it hopes that “this moment of instability will be overcome as quickly as possible, in a context of institutional and democratic reform in Egypt.” The official news agency Agencia Brasil reported on 3 February that the Brazilian journalists, Costa and Rocha, had been detained and blindfolded, their passports and equipment had been taken from them, and they had spent Wednesday night in a windowless room in a Cairo police station. “It’s a horrible feeling. You don’t know what’s going to happen,” Costa told Agencia Brasil, adding that he even came to fear for his life, because at one point they were put up against a wall. The radio reporter also explained that he and his colleague were both forced to sign a document in Arabic that they did not understand, and that according to the police, requires them to return to Brazil. After being released, the journalists headed to the airport. Journalists covering the clashes between supporters and opponents of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo have reported being the victims of persecution and intimidation. By Dialogo February 07, 2011
By Dialogo January 07, 2015 “In general, all of these border control efforts bode well for strengthening the state’s sovereignty where its presence has been most difficult to establish,” said Argentine security analyst Norberto Emmerich, who specializes in drug trafficking matters. “The improvements to infrastructure along the borders will allow us to increase migration controls and, consequently, identify those who have criminal records for drug trafficking,” the Ministry of Internal Affairs reported December 10. “Authorities will verify migration status and will compare biometrics from a current photograph with a previous image [of the traveler], in addition to comparisons with documents in our database.” The checkpoint received new computers and scanners to register migrants, a virtual, private network with DIGEMIG, and a computer system for border management. Villazón sits across a river from the Argentine city of La Quiaca, in the province of Jujuy, making it one of five key points in the geopolitics of drug trafficking on the northern Argentine border, according to Emmerich. He calls this region the “Drug Belt with Five Routes”, which include: Puerto Chalanas (Salta) route The opening of the Villazón checkpoint is part of the Bolivian government’s plan to modernize security checkpoints along the borders it shares with Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile and Peru. As part of this effort, on August 22, 2014, Bolivian Minister of Internal Affairs Jorge Pérez Valenzuela initiated construction at the Puerto Suárez checkpoint along the border with Brazil. In 2014, Bolivian security forces dismantled 85 clandestine laboratories that manufactured cocaine and seized 27 planes that had been used to traffic drugs, according to official information broadcast on Bolivian television network ATB. The upgrading of security checkpoints will disrupt the activities of drug traffickers and other criminals. The Drug Belt The importance of international cooperation “In general, all of these border control efforts bode well for strengthening the state’s sovereignty where its presence has been most difficult to establish,” said Argentine security analyst Norberto Emmerich, who specializes in drug trafficking matters. Villazón sits across a river from the Argentine city of La Quiaca, in the province of Jujuy, making it one of five key points in the geopolitics of drug trafficking on the northern Argentine border, according to Emmerich. He calls this region the “Drug Belt with Five Routes”, which include: “We must strengthen our efforts in the fight against drug trafficking in a comprehensive fashion at our border checkpoints, involving all state agencies,” said Sabino Mendoza, CONALTID coordinator general, according to EFE. “[The goal is] to have a greater presence and reduce the negative impact from drug traffic coming from neighboring countries.” Law enforcement authorities in the border regions are fighting micro-smuggling ( bagayeo) which is conducted by small criminal groups and individuals. El Condado – La Mamora (Salta) route La Quiaca – Villazón (Jujuy) route Puerto Chalanas (Salta) route El Condado – La Mamora (Salta) route La Quiaca – Villazón (Jujuy) route The importance of international cooperation “The difference is that drug trafficking is a threat that comes from Argentina and goes to Bolivia, while trafficking in persons for labor and sexual exploitation is a crime that comes from Bolivia and goes to Argentina,” Emmerich said. The opening of the facility is part of a project called “Strengthening Comprehensive Border Controls against Illicit Drug Trafficking and Related Crimes,” developed by the National Council on the Fight against Illicit Drugs Trafficking (CONALTID) and the Directorate General of Migration (DIGEMIG) as part of a bigger plan to consolidate the state’s presence in border towns and combat criminal activities. Besides drug trafficking, trafficking in persons is a high-incidence criminal activity along the border region between the two South American countries. “We must strengthen our efforts in the fight against drug trafficking in a comprehensive fashion at our border checkpoints, involving all state agencies,” said Sabino Mendoza, CONALTID coordinator general, according to EFE. “[The goal is] to have a greater presence and reduce the negative impact from drug traffic coming from neighboring countries.” Bolivia recently opened new checkpoint facilities in the village of Villazón, located close to the border with Argentina in the department of Potosí. It is expected that the new checkpoint will improve security along the common border. The checkpoint received new computers and scanners to register migrants, a virtual, private network with DIGEMIG, and a computer system for border management. Modernization of checkpoints Aguas Blancas – Bermejo (Salta) route Law enforcement authorities in the border regions are fighting micro-smuggling ( bagayeo) which is conducted by small criminal groups and individuals. Besides drug trafficking, trafficking in persons is a high-incidence criminal activity along the border region between the two South American countries. “The difference is that drug trafficking is a threat that comes from Argentina and goes to Bolivia, while trafficking in persons for labor and sexual exploitation is a crime that comes from Bolivia and goes to Argentina,” Emmerich said. GREAT REPORT Some of them use small aircraft to transport drugs from Bolivia to clandestine airstrips in Argentina, according to Emmerich, so interational cooperation is crucial in fighting such activities. “It would be best for this type of border control along an extensive, porous and topographically difficult border to be performed in a cooperative manner, sharing resources, policies and information.” Bolivia is the world’s third-largest producer of coca leaf, according to the Coca Crop Monitoring Report 2013, published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in June 2014. Therefore, authorities and security analysts have stressed the need to reinforce all of Bolivia’s borders. In 2014, Bolivian security forces dismantled 85 clandestine laboratories that manufactured cocaine and seized 27 planes that had been used to traffic drugs, according to official information broadcast on Bolivian television network ATB. The opening of the Villazón checkpoint is part of the Bolivian government’s plan to modernize security checkpoints along the borders it shares with Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile and Peru. As part of this effort, on August 22, 2014, Bolivian Minister of Internal Affairs Jorge Pérez Valenzuela initiated construction at the Puerto Suárez checkpoint along the border with Brazil. Bolivia recently opened new checkpoint facilities in the village of Villazón, located close to the border with Argentina in the department of Potosí. It is expected that the new checkpoint will improve security along the common border. The opening of the facility is part of a project called “Strengthening Comprehensive Border Controls against Illicit Drug Trafficking and Related Crimes,” developed by the National Council on the Fight against Illicit Drugs Trafficking (CONALTID) and the Directorate General of Migration (DIGEMIG) as part of a bigger plan to consolidate the state’s presence in border towns and combat criminal activities. Salvador Mazza – Yacuiba (Salta) route The Drug Belt Aguas Blancas – Bermejo (Salta) route “The improvements to infrastructure along the borders will allow us to increase migration controls and, consequently, identify those who have criminal records for drug trafficking,” the Ministry of Internal Affairs reported December 10. “Authorities will verify migration status and will compare biometrics from a current photograph with a previous image [of the traveler], in addition to comparisons with documents in our database.” Modernization of checkpoints Salvador Mazza – Yacuiba (Salta) route The upgrading of security checkpoints will disrupt the activities of drug traffickers and other criminals. Some of them use small aircraft to transport drugs from Bolivia to clandestine airstrips in Argentina, according to Emmerich, so interational cooperation is crucial in fighting such activities. “It would be best for this type of border control along an extensive, porous and topographically difficult border to be performed in a cooperative manner, sharing resources, policies and information.” Bolivia is the world’s third-largest producer of coca leaf, according to the Coca Crop Monitoring Report 2013, published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in June 2014. Therefore, authorities and security analysts have stressed the need to reinforce all of Bolivia’s borders.
We’ve all felt the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic in every aspect of life. Credit Unions across the country are shutting their doors. Those that have survived have largely moved operations online.Changing protocols. Lack of face-to-face communications. Unorganized emails. The day to day operations of a remote credit union is complicated. Then throw an audit into the mix? Audits are an intensive task at the best of times. Winging it on your first remote audit could be a real recipe for disaster.But if you’re feeling confident in your team and want to work from home, the folks at Redboard have a few tips.What to Avoid While Running Remote AuditsBeing Disorganized – While working from home, emails will be pouring in. Keeping those emails and necessary spreadsheets organized could be a job in itself. So have a protocol to make it easier to keep everything straight. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »
The center says Southern Tier manufacturers are eligible to apply for the grants. Four $50,000 grants to increase manufacturing capacity of PPE, especially N95 masksTwo $100,000 grants will be awarded to increase manufacturing of respiratory equipment, specifically ventilators FuzeHub says the panel reviewing applications for the grants will prioritize projects that are “clearly defined and ready to be undertaken immediately.” Manufacturers looking to apply may do so by clicking here. FuzeHub says the grants are designed to aid small to medium sized manufacturing companies that can meet prevailing FDA requirements and can quickly produce personal protective equipment (PPE) and respiratory care-equipment. A total of six grants will be rewarded. They are: (WBNG) — FuzeHub, a statewide New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership center, announced the launch of grant program that will reward a total of $400,000 in COVID-19 manufacturing grants. The deadline to apply is April 17.
Rebel Wilson’s Transformation Through the Years Read article “I feel so much healthier,” the Pitch Perfect actress, 40, said on the Tuesday, November 10, episode of The Drew Barrymore Show. “And I don’t know whether it’s a thing with ladies when you turn 40, [but] I feel like I really have come into my own now and not just with health but with my career.”Wilson continued, “I feel more in control and I get to produce movies now, which is amazing, and kind of have more control of the content. I just feel like everything seems to be coming together, maybe I’m a late bloomer or something, but I’m slowly getting it together.”Courtesy of Rebel Wilson/InstagramThe Australia native also got candid about the road to her prioritizing her health. She admitted that she realized she was an emotional eater, which was sparked by the pressure of becoming a household name. “I was going all around the world, jet setting everywhere and eating a ton of sugar — that was kind of my vice. I have a very sweet tooth, I love desserts,” she explained. “I’ve tried, like so many women out there, fads and diets and things before and I’m like, ‘I need to do a really holistic approach this time.’ I think what I mainly suffered from was emotional eating and dealing with the stress of becoming famous internationally. There is a lot of stress that comes with it and I guess my way of dealing with it was just like eating donuts.”The Hustle star continued, “So, I was working on the mental side of things of why was I doing that and why was I not valuing myself and having better self-worth? And then, also on the nutritional side. My diet was mainly all carbs, which are delicious but for my body type, I needed to eat more protein.”Rebel Wilson. Courtesy of Rebel Wilson/Instagram- Advertisement – When Wilson announced her “year of health,” she said that she aimed to hit 165 pounds. In October, the Cats actress revealed that she was 6 pounds away from her goal weight.The How to Be Single actress previously said that she has been trying to curb her sugar intake, and she even admitted to having “a bottle of water” in August instead of “reaching for the candies.”In September, Us Weekly confirmed that Wilson is dating Anheuser-Busch heir Jacob Busch. “Jacob adored Rebel last year before she went on her health journey,” an insider told Us at the time. “He is very old school and he is a gentleman in the way he treats Rebel. He seems to be very in love with her.” Celebrating progress. Rebel Wilson recognizes how far she has come while committing to her “year of health.” Read article Wilson has lost around 40 pounds since beginning her wellness journey in January, and she intends to “lose a few more” pounds going forward. Despite her continued plans to slim down, she said she still does “love my curves” and does not anticipate that she will “ever go too skinny.” Celebrities’ Biggest Weight Loss Transformations: Before and After Pics- Advertisement – Rebel Wilson Celebrates Halloween With BF Jacob Busch: Inside Their Romance Read article – Advertisement – – Advertisement –
“We would like to express our gratitude to all parties who agreed to actualize the initiative. I hope the investment will have additional strategic value, as the oil price is currently under pressure,” Bahlil said.Pertamina, through Ignatius, stated that the Dumai refinery upgrade project was prioritized.“With this agreement, Nindya Karya and the South Korean consortium have become Pertamina’s strategic partners in conducting the study on the Dumai refinery upgrade. Our company hopes an important milestone can be achieved in December,” Ignatius said. The MoU, which commissions a joint study on the Dumai refinery upgrade project, was signed by Pertamina megaprojects director Ignatius Tallulembang, Nindya Karya president director Haedar Karim and a representative of the South Korean consortium, DH Global Holdings Co. Ltd. chairman Jung Sam Seung.The refinery upgrade is part of Pertamina’s Refinery Development Master Plan (RDMP) and Grass Root Refinery program.The RDMP lays out a road map for upgrading four refineries: one in Dumai, Riau, one in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, one in Cilacap, Central Java, and one in Balongan, West Java. The Grass Root Refinery program details the company’s plans to construct two new production facilities in Tuban, East Java, and Bontang, East Kalimantan.The upgraded refineries’ total installed capacity will increase 38.2 percent to 1.21 billion barrels per day (bpd), while the new refineries will have a combined capacity of 600,000 bpd. Topics : State-owned oil and gas company Pertamina has agreed to join forces with state construction firm PT Nindya Karya and a South Korean consortium to explore business opportunities for a US$1.5 billion refinery development project in Dumai, Riau.The memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by representatives of the three parties on Wednesday marked progress in Pertamina’s plan to develop its major refineries as Indonesia works toward reducing oil imports and increasing domestic oil production.“This $1.5 billion project would increase the domestic oil and fuel production capacity, which would consequently reduce our dependence on oil imports and trade deficits in the future,” Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) chairman Bahlil Lahadalia said during the signing ceremony.
The government is mulling over a plan to introduce a grant, or “productive social assistance”, to help hard-hit micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) amid the pandemic slowdown, according to a minister.“We hope it can help micro enterprises,” Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Minister Teten Masduki said in a virtual discussion on Wednesday. “The amount [of the assistance] is quite big.”However, he refused to go into further details as the plan was still under discussion. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which contribute to more than half of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), have been greatly affected by the pandemic, which has forced shops, offices and factories to close to contain the coronavirus, and hit demand.The government is seeking to speed up the disbursement of the current COVID-19 stimulus for small businesses amounting to Rp 123.46 trillion (US$8.4 billion). As of Tuesday, the government had disbursed only 9.59 percent of the budget to more than 1 million cooperatives and MSMEs.The small business stimulus is part of the government’s Rp 695.2 trillion stimulus package to speed up Indonesia’s economic recovery.Teten vowed that the government was “continuing to look for a solution” with regard to designing aid for SMEs, as the number of pandemic-hit small businesses increased faster than the stimulus disbursement. The proportion of MSMEs closing their businesses due to pandemic restrictions rose by 13.1 percentage points to 49.3 percent in April from March, according to a survey of 525 respondents between April 17 and May 22 by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).As the temporary closure stripped the small businesses of their revenue, more than half of them reduced the number of employees in April. Slashing work hours and furloughing employees were the most popular responses among the small businesses.Around half of small businesses surveyed told ADB they were running out of cash or savings. The proportion of cash-strapped MSMEs in Indonesia was larger than in other surveyed countries, namely the Philippines, Thailand and Laos.“MSMEs in all of the countries reported a serious lack of funds to regain their business, especially in Indonesia,” said Shigehiro Shinozaki, a senior economist at ADB.“More concretely, in Indonesia, 88 percent of micro enterprises reported having no cash and savings, and would run out of funds in a month.”ADB also found that most small businesses reported difficulties in getting funding amid the pandemic. As a result, around 39 percent of the small businesses borrowed money from friends and relatives, while one-fourth of them used their own remaining cash or profit.To survive the pandemic-induced downturn, 46.9 percent of the MSMEs were considering asking financial institutions for debt restructuring.Most Indonesian small businesses surveyed expressed hope they could get a loan without interest and collateral, as well as cash assistance or grants.The Cooperatives and SMEs Ministry reported Tuesday that most of the small business stimulus was disbursed through state-owned banks in the form of debt restructuring funds.The second-largest spending of the stimulus was Rp 381.4 billion for investment funds for 34 cooperatives through the Revolving Fund Management Agency (LPDB). The remainder went to the interest subsidy for MSMEs via the micro loan program (KUR).Arief Ramayandi, the principal economist at ADB, said Wednesday small businesses relied on informal sources of funding because they faced issues in accessing funding from formal financial institutions such as banks.Of the surveyed MSMEs, only 1 percent stated they borrowed from banks to get working capital. Other surveyed countries showed a similar picture, with mostly less than 8 percent of small businesses getting loans from banks.“The problem of getting funding from formal financial institutions has not emerged only because of COVID-19, but it has been around all this time,” said Arief.ADB has approved a $1.5 billion loan for Indonesia’s COVID-19 response and a $3 million grant for medical supplies.The Manila-based development bank is currently processing a funding facility worth $500 million for Indonesia’s disaster response, according to Bambang Susantono, the vice president for knowledge management and sustainable development at ADB.Topics :