Parliament has welcomed the R500 billion social relief and economic support package recently announced by president Ramaphosa.
In a statement, the chairperson of the standing committee on appropriations, Sfiso Buthelezi, expressed his appreciation for the package to deal with the extraordinary challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In particular, the economic and social stimulus package was welcomed “due to the major negative social and anticipated economic impact of the Covid-19 outbreak and the unprecedented uncertainty of both domestic and global economic activities, and mostly the health and livelihoods of the entire population”.
According to the committee, COVID-19 will have an inevitable impact on “economic growth, government revenue, the inevitable increase in both the budget deficit and gross government debt as well as its overall impact on the level of unemployment, which is already stubbornly very high for the country”.
The chairperson called for the careful monitoring of emergency procurement as some supply chain regulations related to the procurement of goods and services by the government to aid emergency procurement have been relaxed to deal with the challenges posed by COVID-19.
With regard to complaints of excessive pricing, the chairperson called on the “Competition Commission to be decisive and apply the law quickly without fear or favour against the unacceptable escalation of prices, leading to the exploitation of our people”.