Over the years, debt has gotten a pretty bad rap – and often for good reason. But it’s important to remember that not all types of debt should be painted with the same brush, and that there is such a thing as good debt. Knowing the difference between good and bad debt is crucial to wealth creation.
The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is meeting again - 21 July 2020 to 23 July 2020 - to discuss policy matters. The central bank lowered interest rates by a cumulative 275 basis points in the year so far, most recently making a 0.5 percentage point cut in lending rates on May 21.
The COVID-19 crisis is having a profound impact on South Africa’s economy with the GDP forecast to contract by as much as 7.1% in 2020, to an all-time low of roughly -8.5%. A wide range of industries came to an abrupt halt during the national lockdown, with businesses across the board struggling to stay afloat – mass job cuts, and for many others, pay cuts, loom.
As most household incomes shrink, Savings Month, this year coinciding with South Africa’s fifth month of COVID-19 lockdown, is placing monthly expenses, especially insurance bills, firmly in the spotlight. And it is not a kind light. It is critical that South Africans under stress use any extra time they may have in lockdown to sensibly review their insurance covers.
Democratic Alliance Member of Parliament, Ghaleb Cachalia, who also serves as the party’s spokesman on public enterprises and serves on the Ethics Committee in Parliament, introduced the Public Finance Management Amendment Bill to the National Assembly.
July is savings month in South Africa. This is a month where national savings awareness campaigns are run to look at fostering a culture of savings for South Africans. Historically, post the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2008, the South African household savings ratio (the income saved by households during a certain period of time), has also mostly remained in negative territory.
The economic impact of COVID-19 is being felt increasingly by individuals and businesses across the country. The simple fact that the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) has been swamped with applications and already paid out well over R4 billion in UIF claims is clear evidence of the strain being felt by many households.
In his Adjustment Budget Speech Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni told us what we already knew. Debt is up and we need to borrow even more, spending will increase, government revenue will be less than expected, the deficit will increase, the economy is expected to contract, and unemployment is higher than usual.
We have noted with concern the Auditor General’s report of the audit outcomes for local government, which showed that only 8% of municipalities received clean audits for the 2018/19 financial year, despite R1.26 billion being spent on financial reporting consultants.
Collections teams are now responsible for more customers than ever - are they ready? The recent announcement from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority concerning its expectations about what to do next with customers who have been affected by COVID-19 - whether they have taken a payment holiday or not - underlines the importance of customer communications.