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Parly Budget Office: Govt has progressed implementing COVID relief package

However, it has told Parliament’s finance committees that more support was still needed to help households, small, medium and micro-enterprises and the economy as a whole.

President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his State of the Nation Address in Parliament on 11 February 2021. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - The Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) on Tuesday said the government had made progress in implementing the social and economic relief package introduced to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic in April.

However, it has told Parliament’s finance committees that more support was still needed to help households, small, medium and micro-enterprises and the economy as a whole.

The PBO is a body that was set up to advise the national legislature’s finance and appropriations committees. It was briefing parliamentarians ahead of Finance Minister Tito Mboweni unveiling the 2021 Budget on Wednesday.

The body said the outlook for the South African economy seemed to have improved marginally since Mboweni delivered the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement in October.

But it is predicting that it will take more than four years for the economy to recover to levels seen before the coronavirus struck.

The PBO’s Seeraj Mohamed said: “So, while the government has attempted to address the economic impact of the pandemic, the global macro-economic experience is that more stimulus is needed to support the large impact of the pandemic on South Africa’s GDP growth.”

Mohamed said projected global economic growth was positive for 2021, but several risks underscored the need for continued fiscal action by the government.

“Uncertainty remains due to the impact of the current and future waves of the pandemic, the successful roll-out of vaccines and new strains of COVID-19.”

The PBO said COVID-19 and the lockdown affected local government performance, with low revenue collection and further slowed spending on infrastructure and capacity building.

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