National Treasury is monitoring the economy very closely and is ready to provide support where it is needed.
That’s the message from Treasury Director-General Dondo Mogajane, who said the Appropriations Bill may need amending as the government sought to manage its finances and deal with spending pressures caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Mogajane was speaking at a briefing where ministers spelt out what is being done in various economic sectors following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of a three-week lockdown starting at midnight on Thursday.
Mogajane said that the National Treasury was trying to work within its means for now.
“We will explore amending the Appropriations Bill, but in the meantime, we’ll allow virements where possible. This can be considered for the initial response to coronavirus so far as reprioritising to the frontline sectors is concerned, but that said, Treasury is still assessing the macroeconomic impact of the pandemic and the recent escalation of measures to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak.”
Mogajane said much would depend on other factors, including the dispute between oil cartel Opec and Russia, and load shedding.
But he said Treasury was ready to help where it could.
“Firstly we are watching the performance of the economy very closely, including sectors that experience the highest impact. We stand ready as Treasury, working within the collective of government, to support where needed.”
Mogajane wouldn’t comment on ratings agency Moody’s, saying this would only come after Moody’s announced its review of the country’s credit rating later this week.
To track the latest developments around the coronavirus both in South Africa and abroad, click on this live status report from Strategix.