The government should consider partially reopening of the economy, allowing sectors with the highest number of employment concentration to operate on skeletal mode.
Maximum focus should be deployed to saving and sustaining a little that is left of jobs and employment whilst ensuring that the growing rate of infections is carefully managed.
The new wave of Covid-19 infections engulfing China are a clear demonstration that the virus may take longer than expected to fall on its knees.
New cases of center for disease control,Coronavirus, quarantine, symptoms, social distancing, virus protection, outbreak, coronavirus outbreak, COVID-19, pandemic, coronavirus pandemic, coronavirus prevention, coronavirus explained, covid-19 news, covid-19 updates, covid-19 outbreak, corona, Peter Hotez, COVID-19 Vaccine, Center for Vaccine Development have recently been reported in Wuhan and Jilin, in what has created fears of a second wave of the virus. As bad as the situation is, it offers lessons to other countries on what to expect and how to best prepare.
South Africa has been commended for their swift and timely response in combating the spread of the virus, whilst preparing for its long run economic impact.
From prioritising public health by imposing national lockdown regulations and strengthening national and provincial healthcare systems, to providing a stimulus package aimed at ensuring that the most vulnerable are protected whilst businesses are sustained and kept afloat.
That is a twin strategy employed by the South African government.
The South African government imposed a strict restrictive control, banning international and local travelling, halting trade and economic activities soon after the first cases were reported.
These measures were followed by a multi-billion stimulus package aimed at sustaining businesses and protecting the poor during this awful period, as well as a three-month tax break to private businesses.
Both the president and the finance minister spoke of intentions to solicit more funds from global financial institutions to boost the efforts directed at minimising the impact of the virus.
This comes at a time when the country’s economy characterised by unstable fiscal outlook, with growing and unstainable debt to GDP ratio, as well as gloomy credit outlook.
Even though the depth of the problem created by the pandemic has not been quantified, at the centre of it is anticipated job losses, especially for a country that has already recorded highest unemployment rate.
Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) reported that even though the total number of employed people increased in the last quarter of 2019, unemployment rate lingered at 29.1%.
About 77 000 jobs were lost in the informal sector, which provides income and livelihood to approximately 2.5 million workers and business owners.
The provided relief fund has entirely edged out the informal sector, in what should be regarded as ongoing neglect of the sector’s contribution to a country’s economic growth.
These are realities the country has to accommodate in mitigating the effects of the pandemic. Adding to these woes, the national treasury expects unemployment rate to reach 50% as a result of economic downfall created by the pandemic, 27.5% higher than that 2008 – 2009 period.
Million of jobs were lost in 2008-2009 as a result of global financial crisis.
However, it should be expected that the situation will be direr this time around, with all economic activities held at ransom, with no production for a month during the first phase of the lockdown.
In mitigating these problems, the government should consider partially reopening of the economy, allowing sectors with the highest number of employment concentration to operate on skeletal mode, maintaining basic measures set out to avoid further infections such as two metre social distancing and etc.
Real Life. Real News. Real Voices
Help us tell more of the stories that matterBecome a founding member
This is important in keeping the businesses running whilst sustaining jobs and income. However such reopening has to be gradual and carefully rolled out, especially to areas with high infection risk.
Under a skeletal mode, workers will be sharing shifts to ensure that all get enough working ours, whilst social distancing is maintained. The major purpose is to ensure that there are jobs, income and subsequently, demand.
However this plan should be rolled out along with a concurrent plan aimed at containing the growing rate of infections.
Firms and businesses should be encouraged to provide alternative means of transportation, where they can, to ease the concentration on public transport.
The service sector is responsible for over 71% of total employment, and most of the industries under this sector do not fall under essential services’ category.
It should be expected that this sector will be home for most of the anticipated job losses if government continues with the strict lockdown regulations, which limits the right to operate only to businesses and persons providing essential services.
– Chuma Mbaleki is a Data Analyst
Watsapp Me +140-888-323-29
We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe