Here's the Durban Metro's six-point plan to boost the local economy battered by coronavirus
Durban - eThekwini Mayor, Mxolisi Kaunda, has outlined a number of interventions that will be implemented to assist the local economy, which has taken a massive blow in the wake of Covid-19.
Kaunda said the city will be driving a coordinated plan to mitigate against the impact of Covid-19 on the local tourism and industrial economy.
"Our plan entails amongst other things, linking affected industry players with the various funds announced by the national government, including the R200 million Tourism Relief Fund and the Solidarity Fund. We will also ensure that the municipality's own accommodation bookings will now be directed to small businesses like bed and breakfasts," he said.
Kaunda said the Metro's Economic Recovery Plan is anchored around eight pillars; safeguarding jobs, monitoring the city income and health of the economy, facilitating the city's share of national government support, supporting tourism and industrialisation programme, accelerating radical socio-economic transformation, supporting the township and informal economy, accelerating construction, infrastructure and investment projects and operationalising the Socio-Econimic Fund.
He said since the Covid-19 crisis has heavily affected six sectors of the economy; construction, manufacturing, tourism, retail, trade, finance and transport.
"Our plan recognises the need to ensure that the city remains financially viable, whilst investing in the economy, which creates jobs and prosperity. Working together with our partners, we will monitor the financial health of the municipality and our customers as the pandemic unfolds, and respond appropriately," he said.
Kaunda said the postponement of events like the Vodacom Durban July, Africa's Travel Indaba, the Comrades Marathon and sporting events, has resulted in visitor losses of around 280 000 people and at least R720m.
"The Albert Luthuli Convention Centre has had to postpone more than 85 events from March until June 2020, losing R64m with uShaka Marine World losing R50m in revenue from March to June. Our hotels and restaurants are at risk of losing R4bn of revenue," Kaunda said.
He outlined six measures that will be put in place to boost the tourism sector
- Bed and breakfasts can apply to the municipality to pay residential rates for a limited period
- Re-introduction campaign of Durban to visitors as a new, fresher and clean Durban athat is cautious about health and safety of visitors once the economy is re-opened
- Aggressively focusing on getting more beaches to be awarded Blue Flag status
- Increasing funding to Community Tourism Organisations from R250 000 to R500 000 to market their areas and create new tourism packages
- Creating new tourism packages relevant to a post-Covid-19 world
- Working with the national and local tourism business bodies plus supporters like banks, on investment retention and where possible in time, an investment expansion programme.
Kaunda further said to boost the rural, township and informal economy, which stands to lose almost 300 000 jobs, the city will identify and assist all informal enterprises which could not access the R2bn made available by national government.
"To further protect small enterprises, the city will provide a six-month rental holiday for informal business including street traders, hives/incubators and retail markets," he said.