Vaccine programme can help bolster economic recovery, says government

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Government has welcomed the IMF's upward revisions to the domestic growth outlook.
Government has welcomed the IMF's upward revisions to the domestic growth outlook.

The SA government believes the vaccination programme will be useful in bolstering the economic recovery.

The government communications service on Wednesday issued a statement on behalf of the Presidency, welcoming the International Monetary Fund's upward revisions to the growth outlook for the domestic economy. The IMF previously projected the economy to expand by 2.8%, but recently revised growth to 3.1%. The bounce-back follows a contraction of 7% during 2020 - the second worst contraction in 100 years according to the SA Reserve Bank's records.

"Based on historical data, this is the biggest annual fall in economic activity the country has seen since at least 1946," the statement read.

The IMF expects robust global growth in 2021, attributable to greater fiscal support - mostly in advanced economies - as well as the distribution of vaccines.

In its statement, the government noted the challenges in accessing vaccines but expressed optimism in South Africa's ability to secure needed vaccines within set timelines. "Government has secured 30 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 20 million doses from Pfizer, 12 million doses from Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access and 12 million doses from the African Union," the statement read.

In its Fiscal Monitor report released on Wednesday, the IMF similarly stressed the importance of global access to vaccines to achieve significant economic returns.

Acting minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni pointed out that both the vaccination programme and the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan would support economic recovery.

"As indicated by the IMF, government acknowledges that South Africa has a long road ahead. Our success requires all South Africans to come together in a social compact to embrace the reconstruction and recovery of our economy as a shared responsibility," the statement read.

By working together, we can create much-needed jobs, get our economy back on track and achieve economic dignity for all South Africans.

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