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WRAP | Mboweni argues for hiring more South Africans in post-lockdown economy

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24 April 20:58

Four more Covid-19 deaths, Health Department confirms

South Africa's Covid-19 death toll went up by four more deaths on Friday, and 267 more people have tested positive for the virus. The current tally sits at 4 220 cases.

Two people died in KwaZulu-Natal, and the other two in the Western Cape. The Health Department said a total of 152 390 people have been tested so far. There was a spike of 134 cases in the Western Cape on Friday.

The Eastern Cape also saw a big daily increase, with 63 new cases. The Western Cape has the highest number of cases with 1 279, followed by Gauteng with 1 252 and KwaZulu-Natal with 807.
Read more on News24

24 April 15:16

Mboweni adds that spaza shop owners must be registered and have bank accounts.

With that his address ends. 

 

24 April 15:06

Mboweni says when he returned to SA from exile in 1990, 8 out of 10 workers at restaurants were South African. 

Today almost 100% are non-South African, he says.  

He said the "new economy" post-lockdown must "answer that question", adding establishments must have new labour market policies in place when the economy reopens. 

"The proportion of South Africans working in a restaurant must be greater than that of non-South Africans," he says, adding that there must not be discrimination against non-South Africans. 

24 April 15:02

The finance minister says the increase in the social grants were always means to be temporary. 

"These are temporary measures, temporary relief, that will be lifted in October'. 

Mboweni says he is quite certain that people will understand when the additional grant payments are withdrawn in October. 

 

24 April 14:59

After a series of questions are asked, Mboweni says he has answered questions about sourcing finance from international financial institutions. 

He says the R200bn loan guarantee scheme will likely start next week. 

Mboweni now talks about the Land Bank, which defaulted on its debt on Friday. He says that conversations and negotiations about funding the bank are continuing. "Our responsibility is to do whatever we can to support the land bank". 

 

24 April 14:52

Speaking of a "new economy" that could emerge after the lockdown ends, Mboweni says that there will be new opportunities for companies to grow. 

Referencing Pravin Gordhan, he says a new airline could arise from the "ashes of SAA". 

While SAA is under business rescue but has not been liquidated yet. 

 

24 April 14:47

Mboweni repeats SA is entitled to apply to international funding institutions for aid, but does not provide more information, leaving the exact situation unclear. 

24 April 14:45

Mboweni says the SA can apply for $4.2 billion from the IMF, about $60 million from the World Bank, and $1 billion from the New Development Bank. 


24 April 14:44

Speaking about how economic package will be funded, Mbownei says all govt programmes that can be postponed will be postponed, and the proceeds reallocated. 

Mboweni says the private sector, in conversation with National Treasury and Reserve Bank, had come to the conclusion that SA can unlock between R100bn and R200bn through the national credit guarantee scheme. 

"That scheme would favour businesses that are R300 million or less, in turnover". 

The profits and losses would revert back to the nation fiscus, he notes. 

He says that that tax relief measures would also unlock additional funds, and "put more money in the pockets of people", "get the weeks of the economy moving". 

He says that in addition to this, the private banking sector has announced a separate set of measures to support clients, such as postponing mortgage requirements. 

"We need to think beyond the role of the state alone," he adds. 

He now talks about the IMF and the World Bank, notes SA is a member of both.

"We are entitled to approach the IMF and the World Bank for funding," he says.  

24 April 14:31

With that he ends the first part of what was a relatively short address. 

24 April 14:30

Mboweni says SA and global growth will fall substantially in 2020. 

24 April 14:30

Mboweni now starts to lay out the support intervention packages 

* R20 billion added to the health budget 

* R50 billion increase in social security, by an increase in the existing grant system. In addition, aCovid-19 grant of R350 a month will be paid to the unemployed who have no income.  

* Tax relief measures - including fast-tracking VAT relief funds, a delay of the carbon tax payments, some corporate tax breaks on interest expenses and assesses losses; and UIF support for workers.  

Mboweni notes that the Solidarity Fund has already spent over R1 billion in buying protecting equipment. 

The minister says the combined effect of these revenue and expenditure measures have naturally changed the fiscal framework, adds that for the next few weeks they can be contained within the current budgetary framework. 

He notes that the government is working on tabling a revised budget bill before Parliament. 

24 April 14:20

Mboweni says National Treasury has been in multiple discussions with Lesetja Kganyago, governor of the South African Reserve Bank. 

The combined fiscal and monetary policy interventions amounts "well over" R800 billion, he says. 

This includes five main components 

*an extra R20 billion health budget 

*relief of hunger and social distress 

*support for companies and workers

*the phased-in reopening of the economy 

*supportive monetary and banking financial market measures 

24 April 14:16

Mboweni says govt is focussing on using the levers of fiscal and monetary policy in a coordinated way, hoping for a countercyclical boost to the economy. 

"We must be careful not to choose a path that seems easy, or too good to be true". 

24 April 14:14

The finance minister has arrived. He starts by saying SA is facing extraordinary times and enormous economic challenges. 

He adds SA has resources and resilience to overcome these challenges. 

24 April 13:54

Ramaphsoa gave few details about how the R500 billion would be made up on Tuesday.

He did say that the R500 billion would include the reprioritisation of around R130 billion within the current budget, and R200 billion in a loan guarantee scheme in partnership with the major banks. 

In addition to some tax relief, the president said the remainder of the funds will be raised "from both local sources, such as the Unemployment Insurance Fund, and from global partners and international finance institutions".

On Thursday, in his second major address to the nation within a week, Ramaphsoa gave a broad outline of how SA would work to again open up the economy, saying the country would be instituting a five-level coronavirus response system that would govern social interaction and the economy. 

SA is currently and level 5, and would be moving to level 4 on May 1. 

As has become the norm, ministers will provide the details of how Ramaphosa's announcements will be implemented. 

An inter-ministerial briefing was scheduled for Friday morning to flesh out Ramaphosa's announcement but was postponed. It now looks like ministers will speak about their areas at a series of separate media engagements in coming days. 

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, and officials from National Treasury, will be first up, speaking at 2pm on Friday.  

 

Risk factors: 9 major takeaways from Ramaphosa’s lockdown speech

24 April 13:53

On Tuesday evening President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a R500 billion social relief and economic support package in a bid to stabilise the economy, address the extreme decline in supply and demand and protect jobs. 

The announcement was by far the biggest intervention the government had taken to buoy the economy since the imposition of a nationwide lockdown at the end of March to suppress the spread of the coronavirus. 

Under a raft of strict regulations enforced by the police, only businesses seemed essential - such as pharmacies and food retailers - were allowed to continue operating. The lockdown caused much of SA's economic activity to be frozen almost overnight, with restaurants, cinemas, gyms, fast food outlets, pubs, shebeens and malls all forced to shut. Travel restrictions mean that SA's important tourism industry has been ravaged, while much of the country's mining industry was placed under care and maintenance, although regulations have since been relaxed. 

Business bodies have forecast that SA may lose around million permanent jobs due to the abrupt shock, while the IMF expects that what it is calling the "Great Lockdown" will cause the worst global recession since the Great Depression.

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