The International Women’s Forum of South Africa (IWFSA) has praised President Cyril Ramaphosa’s R500-billion economic stimulus and recovery plan, saying it will help beleaguered communities, particularly the youth, women and small businesses, as the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the world’s people and economies.
“We are pleased that this package – the biggest economic rescue package in our nation’s modern history, is a product of input from all partners, including government, business sector, labour and civil society,” said Irene Charnley, President of IWFSA.
“It is especially important to note that the package is focussed on addressing the pressing needs of the most vulnerable and poorest in our communities, the vast majority of whom are women and children.”
The social and economic relief package the President announced carefully and deliberately seeks to provide much-needed resources for our country’s health sector; provide relief from hunger and social distress; support business and workers and jobs are saved, and provide for the phased and safe re-opening of the economy, said Charnley.
“It aims to build trust and confidence and shows that we have a caring government that is particularly mindful that no one is left behind. Commendably, this package goes a long way in supporting the many women who put bread on the table and build a much needed social cohesive society in support of our new economy.
“Also, the allocation to the informal sector such as spaza shops and the unemployed will support demand and supply where the majority of our most vulnerable society operates.”
The IWFSA is also encouraged by the much-needed structural reforms that will come of this.
“Sustainable, job-creating growth is going to be very important in a post-COVID-19 world and our economy will need to undergo significant reform to achieve this. Funding this historic package requires significant resources, some of which will come from a reallocation of funds within the existing Budget 2020. We further support the engagements for low-interest loans with various funders such as the IMF, World Bank and the BRICS New Development Bank whilst protecting our sovereignty as a nation,” said Charnley.
The IWFSA supports the lifting of the lockdown in phases.
“This is the correct strategy as we all strive to maintain the gains made during the lockdown period. We trust that the implementation is transparent and business owners will continue to comply. We request that those businesses that are able to operate without depending on this stimulus continue to pay their employees and suppliers and allow this package to be accessed by the most vulnerable, thus further contributing to promoting economic movement.
“We further encourage urgency in unpacking the details of implementing the disbursements of the funds so that those it is intended for receive support urgently given the recent negative incidents reported in various communities.”