SA economy shifting from relief to recovery, says Ramaphosa
With the SA economy showing signs of stability, government will now shift its focus from relief measures to implementing a recovery plan, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday night.
“As the economy starts to recover, many of the measures in the relief package are steadily being wound down. We are trying, within our limited resources, to ensure this is a gradual transition. We recognise that some industries are still not able to operate fully and that it will take some time for many jobs to return.
“That is why we extended the special Covid-19 grant for a further three months, until January 2021. This will provide much-needed income to around six million people who are unemployed and do not receive any other form of government grant,” said the president.
Along with the extension of the special grant, the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) will also extend the Covid-19 UIF Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (Ters) benefit to October 15 2020.
Ramaphosa said the Covid-19 UIF scheme had already paid out nearly R53bn to more than 4.7 million workers.
“These relief measures were necessary to protect those who are most vulnerable in a time of great distress, but they will have to come to an end.
“The relief package has laid the foundation for a robust economic recovery, limiting job losses and keeping afloat many businesses that would otherwise have been forced to close. As we transition to a new phase in our response, the only way forward is a rapid and sustained economic recovery.”
He said the government was working towards enabling all parts of the economy to return to full operation as quickly and safely as possible.
“We are amending the alert level 1 regulations to restore the normal trading hours for the sale of alcohol at retail outlets. We are also opening up international travel to all countries, subject to the necessary health protocols and the presentation of a negative Covid-19 certificate. By using rapid tests and strict monitoring we intend to limit the spread of the infection through importation,” he said.
He said these measures would assist businesses in the tourism and hospitality sectors.
“Our infrastructure programme continues to gather pace, with the strong support of the private sector and development institutions. Many programmes supported through the Presidential Employment Stimulus have already started and recruitment for others has begun,” said Ramaphosa.
FULL ADDRESS | Ramaphosa addresses SA on Covid-19 developments