JOHANNESBURG - Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel will this morning brief parliamentary portfolio committees about the government’s response to the potential negative impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic on the economy.
Patel’s briefing to the portfolio committee on trade and industry, together with the select committee on trade and industry, economic development, small business, tourism, employment and labour, will also include the measures the government is considering to mitigate the impact.
The government has decided to implement a risk-adjusted approach for a gradual and phased recovery of economic activity through easing of lockdown restrictions from Friday.
Yesterday, economic cluster ministers said that the government has sequenced and phased-in key sectors and priority areas with a view to deepening the fight against Covid-19 whilst rebuilding the economy.
Tourism minister Mamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said the phased-in approach would affect key economic sectors and drivers as well as promote human development and wellbeing.
Kubayi-Ngubane said it had been expected that in some cases, a sector would not be able to return to full production during Level 4 or even at lower levels while the risk of infection remains.
“If the government does not coordinate the response, there is a risk of more job losses and the contracting of the economy to unprecedented levels and it is in that context that current funding or disaster response through reallocation, reprioritisation and emergency funds must also be seen,” she said.
“This plan spans over six to eight months, because we believe that the curve peak will probably arrive in September 2020.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa last week announced a R500 billion social and economic relief package to ease the burden on individuals and businesses negatively affected by Covid-19.
Meanwhile, the National Treasury also issued a second set of measures aimed at assisting individuals and businesses through the economic hardships brought by the pandemic.
These measures consist of fiscal and support instruments, such as tax breaks, loan guarantee schemes, and grants, to help the economy overcome the severe impact on production, markets, trade and employment.