COVID-19 Suffocates Micro Enterprise Owners

Residents of Neighborhood Association (RT) 9, Ancol Urban Village, Pademangan Subdistrict, North Jakarta, are mostly street peddlers. During this pandemic, their sales dropped and their income becomes uncertain.

COVID-19 Suffocates Micro Enterprise Owners' photo
Ismail (58), a resident of RT 9, Ancol Urban Village, is a chicken noodle soup seller in Mangga Dua Market, had to close the stall since the PSBB (Large-Scale Social Restriction) was implemented in Greater Jakarta in early April because there haven’t been any customers. Now he opened his stall near his house, serving only three bowls of chicken noodle soup a day. (ACTNews / Gina Mardani)

ACTNews, JAKARTA – Ismail (58)’s daily income has drastically dropped for the last for months. He had to close his chicken noodle soup stall in Mangga Dua Market since the implementation of Large-Scale Social Restrictions in Jakarta Metropilitan Area in early April. Now, he opens a chicken noodle soup stall near his house in Ancol Urban Village, Pademangan Subdistrict, North Jakarta.

"Sometimes I serve only three bowls a day. I open my shop from late afternoon till midnight," said Ismail. The coronavirus pandemic has drastically reduced his income.

Before the pandemic, he had quite a lot of buyers. He used to have two stalls, one at Mangga Dua Market, another at the alley near his house, run by his wife. The stall that his wife runs is located near a kindergarten, and it used to have a lot of customers.

The implementation of the Large-Scale social restrictions (PSBB) and other policies to curb the spread of COVID-19 have forced Ismail and his wife to find ways to get extra sources of income. Ismail's wife sells snacks and iced fruit cocktail for iftar. "My child is still studying in college. Without extra sources of income, how can I pay for the tuition?" she said.



Siti Munasiroh (48), a nasi uduk seller in RT 9, Ancol Village, Pademangan District, has run out of capital to run her business. She also lost many customers due to COVID-19, forcing her to temporarily close her stall. (ACTNews / Gina Mardani)

Not far from Ismail's house, Siti Munasiroh (48) runs a nasi uduk stall. This year, Siti admitted to ACTNews that she owed quite a lot of money to moneylenders.

"I owed money to many people, and now I can’t even run my business. There is no buyer because of the coronavirus. I want to be free of debts. I know it's wrong to borrow from moneylenders, but what else can I do?" said Siti, wiping her tears when the ACT team met her.

Siti used to have a lot of customers, mostly sellers at the market. In addition, she used to sell donuts. However, since the pandemic, there have been no customers, and Siti has run out of capital.

"I had received staple food packages earlier. I will use them to cook the nasi uduk. My husband’s income as a chauffeur is not enough to pay for my children’s tuition fees. I still have to work," said Siti.

As the COVID-19 pandemic increasingly suffocates micro-enterprise owners, Siti doesn't want to give up hope. She plans to reopen her stall after Eid Al-Fitr even though she knows that there won’t be many buyers. She still has bills and tuition fees to pay

"Hopefully there will be people who want to help each other, at least by providing capital assistance for micro-enterprises. Hopefully, the coronavirus will end soon," said Siti.

During this pandemic, ACT is supporting micro-enterprise owners like Siti through the Friends of Indonesian Micro Enterprises (Sahabat Usaha Mikro Indonesia) program that will be launched after Eid Al-Fitr. This program aims to provide capital and assistance for ultra-micro enterprises affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. []

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