Covid-19: Economic recovery now more important than extended lockdown

FF Plus

Covid-19: Economic recovery now more important than extended lockdown
Covid-19: Economic recovery now more important than extended lockdown

The move to Level One of the national Covid-19 lockdown was to be expected, but what South Africa needs now is economic recovery and not unnecessary lockdown regulations. The FF Plus still holds the view that all restrictions must be lifted, with certain exceptions.

There are understandably some restrictions that must remain in effect, like the ban on large sport gatherings and the ban on travel to and from countries with a high risk of contagion.

Various sectors, like the guest house industry, which is predominantly dependent on tourism, as well as the restaurant, film and arts industries, are desperately fighting for survival at the moment and it is imperative to save them from going under.

The curfew and restrictions on trading hours could no longer be afforded. The new curfew of midnight is another one of the government’s incomprehensible measures that make no sense at all. It is still unclear to which sectors this will apply.

What is needed now is tax relief for individuals and business enterprises to increase disposable income in order to ensure economic growth post Covid-19. The entire South Africa is an economic zone and should be treated as such. The economic stimulus package that the government announced in April is insufficient. Policy certainty is of the utmost importance at this time.

Social interventions, like the UIF-TERS Fund and social relief grants are unsustainable and will not help the economy to recover in the long run.

It was to be expected that international flights will be resumed with restrictions on the countries from where and to which one may travel, seeing as there are still countries, like India and Brazil, where the number of infections is on the rise again. Countries must be strictly categorised according to their risk level.

It must be kept in mind that South Africa is now moving into summer while the countries in the northern hemisphere are on the verge of winter, which makes those countries more susceptible to the spread of the virus according to the available scientific data.

International travel will provide a significant injection for South Africa’s tourism industry and will make a crucial contribution to the country’s economy. At the moment, there are thousands of South Africans, who usually earn an income abroad, that are now stranded in the country because they may not travel.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the public is no longer taking much notice of the existing lockdown regulations.

An example is the funeral of the ANC veteran Andrew Mlangeni who passed away last month. There the ANC itself broke the rules and nobody was prosecuted. The regulations are obviously turning into some kind of travesty.

It is, however, still important for the public to implement the measures needed to keep them safe from the virus, but the time has also come to do everything we can to get the economy back on track and to return to normal.

The President’s call on South Africans to take up the Jerusalema dance challenge is reminiscent of Marie Antoinette who said that the poor and starving should eat cake. It is extremely disappointing that the President is telling South Africans to do a dance while the country finds itself in an economic depression and he has failed to announce any feasible plan to bring about economic recovery.

Read the original article in Afrikaans by Dr Pieter Groenewald on FF Plus

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