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Mboweni: Govt's COVID-19 economic measures at over R800 bn

The Finance Minister has also announced that the government would be pouring more money into the health budget.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. Picture: @TreasurySA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has announced that the country has set aside well over R800 billion as economic measures in the fight against COVID-19.

Mboweni is addressing the nation on Friday afternoon.

“This takes our total economy wide measures over R800 billion. Let me say that again – our combined fiscal and monetary policy package is over R800 billion. This is a major fiscal and monetary policy response.”

The minister has also announced that the government would be pouring more money into the health budget.

“The main components of the fiscal response can be thought of in five components. Firstly, an extraordinary health budget of R20 billion to respond to coronavirus."

WATCH: Mboweni briefs media on R500bn COVID-19 relief package

The minister said under the second part of the package, government would substantially increase the social security net.

“We're directing R50 billion towards relieving the plight of those who are most desperately affected by the coronavirus.”

He then mentioned the social grant money increases which were announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday.

The minister also announced tax relief measures that would be rolled out and said he had been meeting with Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago over these measures.

“Governor Kganyago has already unveiled a monetary and policy package of approximately another R500 billion. This will bring additional life into the whole financial system. On the third part of the package, we have rolled out an extensive set of tax relief and support for workers.”

He said while most of these measures could still be accommodated under the current fiscal, he would be tabling a new Budget to Parliament soon.

“Further support for firms will come from a R200 billion loan guarantee scheme, which the president also announced. The key features of the COVID-19 loan guarantee scheme are provided in detail on our website.”

According to the minister, in the month ahead, government’s response will be in three phases:

Phase 1 is the phase we are currently in, which aims to preserve our economy. It is designed to be a set of immediate, targeted and temporary responses.

Phase 2 is a plan for recovery from the immediate effects of the crisis. Govt will outline these in due course.

Phase 3 is a pivot to position the economy for structurally higher growth.

“This virus will be beaten. But we must make sure that when we beat it, we do not compromise long-run sustainability,” Mboweni said.