President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a set of interventions to cushion the impact of the novel coronavirus epidemic on the country’s already ailing economy. This as the newly announced measure to combat the spread of COVID 19 threatens to deepen the country’s technical economic recession.
He says that government will provide a seed capital of R150 million towards the Fund, which is also open to contributions from businesses, organisations and individuals.
Ramaphosa says Rupert and Oppenheimer families have each donated R1 billion to assist small businesses and their employees affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The President says “This will be the first phase of the economic response and further measures are under consideration and will be deployed as needed.”
“The Fund will focus efforts to combat the spread of the virus, help us to track the spread, care for those who are ill and support those whose lives are disrupted,” adds the President.
The Fund will be chaired by Ms Gloria Serobe and the deputy Chairperson Mr Adrian Enthoven. It will be administered by a reputable team of people, drawn from financial institutions, accounting firms and government.
Contributions can be made on the fund’s website www.solidarityfund.co.za
Ramaphosa declared a national shutdown on Monday evening against the coronavirus pandemic as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa rises to 402.
Economic activity to a standstill
Big businesses and small-medium enterprises will be the biggest loser when the national lockdown takes effect on Thursday.
This move will grind economic activity to a standstill as South Africans retreat to their home, only coming out to purchase essentials.
The chatter at restaurants will die down and their closure, along with other business, will mean more South Africans will be joining the unemployment line.
President Ramaphosa’s newly announced Solidarity Fund will act as a light at the end of the tunnel for business as the country enters uncharted territory.
The national lockdown comes at a time when National Treasury has revised down the growth forecast to a meager 0.9%. And the unemployment rate sitting at an all-time high of 29.1%.
For this reason, the department of Small business development has made over R500 million immediately available to assist SME’s that are in distress.
While the department of tourism has pledged an additional amount of R200 million to aid the sector which is facing serious headwinds.
President Ramaphosa said the banking system and the JSE will continue to operate during the lockdown.
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