Covid-19: R500-b budget to ease the impact of lockdown

Covid-19: R500-b budget to ease the impact of lockdown

Covid-19: R500-b budget to ease the impact of lockdown

President Cyril Ramaphosa outlined various measures to support companies and workers, including a R200-billion loan guarantee scheme to assist enterprises negatively affected by the Covid-19 lockdown, as part of a broader R500-billion social and economic relief package unveiled on Tuesday night.

"Had the government not moved in a significant way, it may have led to unrest and the violation of the lockdown", Payi said in a note on the stimulus package. The money will come from reprioritising the country's current budget and from global institutions such as the worldwide Monetary Fund (IMF) and the New Development Bank (NDB).

Dlamini Zuma added that a number of bans are likely to remain in place after the countrywide lockdown is lifted on 30 April, aligning with the country's rules on social distancing before the lockdown was implemented.

The novel coronavirus has killed 58 people and infected 3,465 in South Africa.

Chief economist of IQ Business Sifiso Skenjana commented that government was working within its "confines" to address the consequences of the pandemic and its potential to exacerbate inequality.

"The urgent and dramatic measures we have taken to delay the spread of the virus have been absolutely necessary".

Ramaphosa added that they will follow a risk-adjusted approach to the return of economic activity.

Altogether, R50-b will be directed towards relieving the plight of vulnerable and destitute citizens.

R2,800 extra in child support grants, with R500 extra paid every month between June and October, and an extra R300 in May.

All other grant beneficiaries would receive an additional R250 a month for the next six months.

More than 17 million South Africans who are already receiving social grants from the government will be given more cash to sustain themselves. The measures included tax relief, the release of disaster relief funds, emergency procurement, wage support through the UIF and funding to small businesses.

This comes as local and provincial governments struggle to distribute food packages at scale in a quick and efficient manner, as the packages run out while many poor and desperate people are still waiting in line for assistance.

In a letter to the Joint Standing Committee on defence in Parliament, Ramaphosa authorised the deployment of the entire South African National Defence Force (SANDF), including the auxiliary force and reserve force, for an additional 73,180 members of the SANDF to patrol South Africa's streets.

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