South Africa’s Finance Minister Tito Mboweni ruled out an International Monetary Fund structural adjustment programme on Tuesday but said the COVID-19 pandemic would cause a deep recession and stretch weak public finances. Mboweni’s comments came after the central bank unexpectedly cut its main lending rate by 100 basis points to 4.25%, another step to try to limit the economic fallout from the coronavirus. Africa’s most industrialised nation was already in recession before it recorded its first coronavirus case in March. Investors are growing increasingly anxious about how the government will fund a gaping budget deficit while time it’s also making critical healthcare interventions. The country has the most confirmed coronavirus cases on the continent, at 2,415. Addressing reporters on a conference call, Mboweni said cabinet ministers would discuss more economic interventions on Wednesday. On the possibility of IMF funding he said: “We are not looking for budget support. We would be looking for the COVID-19-specific packages that we can access, and we are talking to them about that.
SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA