A loan from the IMF could instil investor confidence – with or without conditions. The previous announcement by the Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni that the South African Government is considering approaching the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for financial assistance amid the COVID-19 pandemic has drawn quite a bit of criticism.
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The global COVID-19 pandemic has made its presence felt in South African retail and consumer-focused businesses, especially in tourism and hospitality, but the full impact on earnings, cash flow and employment will last far longer than the initial lockdown.
The Covid-19 crisis has brought much of the world economy to a sudden stop. Millions upon millions of people are in lockdown across the world, preventing them from working, buying, producing and selling goods and services. Global and local supply chains are interrupted, and small and large companies see a collapse in income. Households are under similar pressure.
Advocates of the lockdown ignore the most basic law of life, that benefits have costs, and that costs easily exceed benefits. People's most 'essential' need is income; the country's most 'essential' need is production. The government's decision to extend the lockdown might cause more premature deaths than far less extreme measures, or even lifting existing measures completely. The economic and human rights impact is more extreme than all but a few realise.
We are at the second week and lockdown is still our new normal. This week would have been hyped with items signifying the Easter period. It would have also been the first long weekend since December. This would have been a much-needed break from the first quarter of the work year however we have been experiencing a break since the lockdown kicked in.
Currently we all speak from a position of absolute ignorance. No one can truly know what the outcome of this pandemic will be, nor when the virus will pass or if it will ever be defeated. Even if a vaccine is developed in the next few months it’s clear that we will forever mark this moment as one of seismic significance. From now on we will talk of pre or post COVID-19.
Legally we have entered unchartered waters that government, perhaps understandably, appears unable to navigate. Practically, the coronavirus regulations cannot be adhered to in a society composed like South Africa’s. In whichever way one approaches the issue, the coronavirus regulations should in large part be set aside and replaced by less restrictive measures to control the pandemic.