Indonesia has officially been declared as the 65th country affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. Within less than a month, as per 03/30/2020, the number of 1,414 Indonesian were confirmed positive, 75 were cured, and 122 died. This is certainly a serious concern.The government has also appealed to the public to conduct social distancing and to carry out activities at home. The appeal was welcomed positively, but there are still some group who were unable follow so. These are the people who have to work outside to survive everyday. Most of them are the community with a vulnerable income.

Concerning with such conditions, on Monday 30 March 2020, The National Board of Zakat (BAZNAS) held online discussion with the theme “The Impact of Covid-19 on Vulnerable Workers and the Efforts to Safeguard Micro Mustahik Businesses”. The talk is a response to the spread of Covid-19 outbreak and anticipating such impacts on mustahik.

This online discussion was broadcast live streaming through the BAZNAS TV on youtube channel with the two speakers who are Dr. Irfan Syauqi Beik - Director of Distribution and Utilization of BAZNAS, and Dr. Muhammad Hasbi Zaenal - Director of the Center for Strategic Studies of BAZNAS. The discussion was moderated by Miqdam Hashri – a Senior Officer for Da’wah and Advocacy of BAZNAS.

During the discussion, Dr. Irfan Syauqi Beik explained about the steps as the efforts to maintain the micro mustahik business. There are five things to consider. First, education for micro business entrepreneurs mustahik, both education about covid-19 so as not to be trapped by the hoaxes and education in terms of products that must be in accordance with Islamic values, that must be halal and thayyib. Second, to strengthen the campaign or promote of mustahik goods and services. Third, strengthen the mustahik business ecosystem. Fourth, encourage marketing of mustahik products. And fifth, government advocacy through policy stimulus in favor of mustahik. In addressing the impact on vulnerable people, BAZNAS has begun a cash for work program, which empowers vulnerable workers to be active in managing the spread of Covid-19 through distribution activities, such as cleaning up crowded places and other related.

Meanwhile, Dr. Muhammad Hasbi Zaenal explained several things that need some attention. For example, from a macroeconomic perspective. As he said, almost all countries affected by Covid-19 are experiencing correction of economic growth below the target. Specifically Indonesia, in relation to vulnerable groups, several things need to be the government’s priority. First, purchasing power has fallen due to the effects of supply (supply / production) and demand (demand / consumption) factors. This has caused many daily workers who do not work because the company is closed. Secondly, the effect of the decline in people's purchasing power has an impact on the turnover of micro-businesses such as mobile traders, small shops and coffee shops, all of which slump down, because people are afraid to go out of the house. Thirdly, prices of necessities such as groceries will increase. From the supply side, this is because many companies reduce their production and from the demand side, it is due to the large number of public demand for staple goods, given social distancing or quarantine policies in the region. Plus, there are some people who panic by buying staples in large quantities.

During the talk, the audiences were invited to ask questions that were further discussed at the end of the session. The audience enthusiastically participated and asked the questions.  It is hopefully such online discussion initiated could provide benefits and explanations to the community and can provide input advice for policy makers in addressing the impact of the spread of the covid-19 outbreak.