Business calls for clarity from SONA on SA’s vaccine roll-out
Share this article:
JOHANNESBURG - BUSINESS yesterday issued a clarion call to President Cyril Ramaphosa for a credible vaccine roll-out strategy and to clearly light the economic road ahead in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday.
Organisations also stressed that the president must not dither on addressing growth constraints and implementing structural reforms amid an economy ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The SA Reserve Bank last month forecast that gross domestic product would grow by 3.6 percent in 2021, rising by 2.4 percent in 2022.
Business Leadership SA chief executive Busi Mavuso said the business sector needed precise guidance on the vaccine strategy.
“We want a clear roll-out plan that details when vulnerable groups will receive vaccinations,” Mavuso said.
“Business now needs that clarity in order to plan around the risks of a third wave which may reach us before a critical mass of vaccinations has been achieved.”
The government estimates that the Covid-19 vaccination programme could cost at least R20 billion as more than 40 million citizens need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
South Africa is bleeding jobs amid a series of lockdowns aimed to curb the spread of the pandemic amid record unemployment.
Consulting Engineers South Africa chief executive Chris Campbell said: “No sector will be able to truly thrive until we have achieved what is necessary to vanquish the virus.”
The South African Institution of Civil Engineering (Saice) also called on the government to revitalise and rebuild the South African economy by focusing on service delivery.
Saice chief executive Vishaal Lutchman said an accelerated and efficient infrastructure procurement roll-out and addressing the current fiscal imbalance in the economy required a strategic focus on long-term delivery of basic services.
“In closing the gaps that hinder the delivery of basic services in South Africa; policy and procurement need to be integrated to achieve a common vision that does not focus only on what needs to be done but more strategically on how it should be done,” Lutchman said.
In his 2020 SONA, Ramaphosa promised inclusive growth and said the government would take critical actions to build a capable state and place the economy on the path to recovery.
But things soon took a turn for the worse as the country was suddenly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic as it was emerging from a technical recession and credit ratings downgrade.
More than 46 000 people have died and more than 1.4 million cases recorded since the virus was first identified in South Africa at the beginning of March 2020.
However, Old Mutual Wealth investment strategist Izak Odendaal yesterday was optimistic that the country was still standing and the economy was recovering.