South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will meet with business leaders today as the government mulls relief measures to mitigate the impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak on the economy.
The country has escalated measures to curb the spread of the virus, including banning travel to and from various countries and limiting gatherings to no more than 100 people, as the number of infections rises. The restrictions are expected to dampen the country’s already dire economic outlook, with the Reserve Bank saying the country is likely to contract 0.2% this year, after slipping into a recession at the end of 2019.
Among the proposals the business sector may be tabling is tax and loan relief for small- and medium-szied enterprises, as well as an amendment to the Unemployment Insurance Fund Act to allow workers who put in shorter hours to claim the shortfall from the fund, the Business Times reported.
The president is expected to discuss the measures at a meeting of the national command council that will also consider whether what is currently being done is sufficient. The number of confirmed South African cases rose to 240 on Saturday, with no deaths.