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Slow vaccine rollout could hamper SA’s economic recovery – Treasury

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and Treasury officials have been briefing Parliament's finance and appropriations committee on the 2021 budget on Thursday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni in Parliament for the Budget speech on 24 February 2021. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Treasury said the most significant threat facing this country's economic recovery was a slow rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and Treasury officials have been briefing Parliament's finance and appropriations committee on the 2021 Budget on Thursday.

Treasury has allocated R9 billion over the next three years for the vaccination campaign but a further R9 billion could be drawn from the contingency reserve if needed.

READ: Mkhize appeals to political parties not politicise vaccine rollout programme

Treasury director general Dondo Mogajane said this year’s budget was a balancing act.

“When we presented this Budget, we had to make sure we balanced a whole lot of things, on the one hand it’s important to promote economic activity and on the other hand, we had to ensure we return public finances to a sustainable path.”

ALSO READ: Cosatu: Mboweni failed to acknowledge govt debt to workers in budget speech

At the same time, overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic is also top of the government's agenda.

“The other immediate priority is to return to rapid economic growth especially having locked down the economy before – and we think this mass vaccination programme will give us that opportunity to support the reopening of the economy and for economic activity to start. We think – based on that and many other factors – growth will reach 3.3% (of GDP) in 2021/2022.”

WATCH: R10bn for vaccines & no tax hikes - Mboweni delivers Budget Speech

However, Treasury is also warning that a slow roll out of the COVID-19 immunisation campaign poses “the most significant threat” to the country’s economic recovery.

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