Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni. Picture: African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni. Picture: African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Covid-19: 'Our primary objective to ensure that economy does not grind to a halt'

By Noni Mokati Time of article published Mar 16, 2020

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Johannesburg - "Our primary objective at this moment is to ensure that economy does not grind to a halt," Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said on Monday amid concerns over the rising number of coronavirus cases in the country.

Mboweni joined other Cabinet ministers who detailed the work that will be undertaken by their respective departments in combating the global pandemic.In South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa has already declared Covid-19 as a national disaster and has imposed travel bans on foreigners travelling from European countries and the UK, among others. 

And as markets across the world have been grappling with the slow economic downturn attributed to the virus, Mboweni said his ministry would be consulting with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange including banks and insurance companies.

"Banks are critical for economy system. They provide mortgage bonds etc... A conversation needs to be had on what what to do in a time of crisis" he said adding likewise insurance companies have exclusions in their policy covers on matters concerning pandemics, while they can't force or compel them to do away with the exclusions, they would have conversations with them. 

In addition, Mbweni indicated that funds to combat the virus have been set aside.

"As the situation develops, we will need to set aside further funds and reduce programmes (at various departments) so that we can shift those funds toward this goal that we are all committed to achieve, " he said.

Meanwhile, the Competition Commission has been roped in to ensure that there are no food prices increases over the next few months.

Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel will meet with Nedlac, the business community and unions on Monday afternoon to ensure there is no stockpiling of items that will inadvertently create panic among consumers.

In recent weeks, many individuals and households have purchased hand sanitizers in amass while abroad, citizens have gone as far as fighting over toilet paper and other essentials.

* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak visit IOL's #Coronavirus trend page.

** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999


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