President Cyril Ramaphosa File picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)
President Cyril Ramaphosa File picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Ramaphosa calls joint sitting of Parliament to speed up economic recovery

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published Oct 9, 2020

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Cape Town – President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for a joint sitting of Parliament on Thursday to discuss the state of the economy.

Statistics South Africa had a few weeks ago released figures showing a huge decline in the economy for the second quarter.

It was projected that the economy would decline by between 7% and 13% this year following the impact caused by Covid-19.

Ramaphosa was scheduled to appear before the National Council of Provinces on Thursday, but that sitting has been postponed to make way for the joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament.

Parliament announced on Friday that Ramaphosa had written to Speaker Thandi Modise and NCOP chairperson Amos Masondo to hold a joint sitting to discuss the state of the economy.

In his letter Ramaphosa states that he wants to get the country back on track.

"We need to take extraordinary measures towards a speedy and sustainable economic recovery," wrote Ramaphosa.

The country has been battling Covid-19 in the last few months with many people losing their jobs. The National Treasury had forecast that 3 million people will lose their jobs.

The government announced a stimulus package of R500 billion to deal with the pandemic.

But the economy was already struggling at the time Covid-19 hit the country.

The National Treasury had indicated that the deficit would widen to about 14% and the debt would rise to 81%.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has said the debt was unsustainable and for any country to be able to survive it would have to have a debt of 30% to GDP.

But the debt has been growing over the last few years and officials in government were concerned that the money borrowed by the state was not used for investment projects but consumption.

At the current rate the interest rate was more than R200 billion a year, and this makes it one of the biggest expenditure items in the Budget.


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