The novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has dampened the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) economies, resulting in an uncertain business landscape and losses, a Sadc report has shown.
In its monthly report for April which assessed the impact of Covid-19 on member States, Sadc notes that the pandemic has induced pressure on economies; hence, the need for governments to safeguard citizens and manage the social-economic fallout.
Reads the report in part: “There is need also to strengthen early warning systems, response and mitigation of pandemics and disasters that have proved to be major threats to education, tourism, informal sector and other sectors.
“Member States should also consider developing roadmaps and action plans that prioritize investments and channel scarce resources to identified economic sectors to resuscitate their economies, strengthen resilience and improve competitiveness.”
The analysis projects the Covid-19 outbreak to cause an increase in fiscal deficits and public debt load in 2020, presenting additional burden to member States.
The Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI), in its April report, also observed that government faces fiscal pressure due to unplanned expenditures due to the fight against Covid-19.
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development spokesperson Williams Banda, while admitting fiscal pressure due to Covid-19, said government will be cautious and carefully manage debt it has acquired from development partners.
Meanwhile, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, government has increased health sector outlays related to containing and managing Covid-19,
2020 including developing testing capabilities, equipping treatment centres, importing medical equipment and supplies, hiring 2000 additional medical staff, and raising public awareness.
Government has also boosted Social Cash Transfer Programme to help the most vulnerable households mitigate the economic impact of the virus and granted tax waivers on imports of medical equipment, medicine and other supplies directly needed to counter the pandemic