The FIA has been an active participant in the Public and Private Growth Initiative (PPGI) – we have overtime been communicating with members regarding our involvement within the PPGI.
Our two main projects include SMME Development – the need for business protection and support as well as addressing the regulatory burden on intermediaries. Both these projects are progressing well. A meeting has been scheduled with the FSCA to discuss the proposed Levies Bill and the financial impact these increased levies will have on member FSP’s.
For your information – we have included below feedback from the PPGI regarding the meeting with the President last week and in particular, information regarding the COVID-19 response.
1. PPGI Meeting with the President
We were unable to convene the originally planned engagement with the President following the declaration of a National Disaster. A considerably downscaled meeting was held with the President, Minister Patel, and key staff in the Presidency: Rudi Dicks, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, Trudi Makhaya and Donne Nicol. We were restricted, but managed to include 12 of the sector representatives in the delegation.
- The sectors spoke briefly to progress; blockages and crises; as well as areas of opportunity. Click here to view the summarised dashboard which we have developed to reflect PPGI’s interventions, monitor progress, and most importantly unblock inhibitors.
- We presented the summary report on priority projects, indicating that we had hoped for the project leads to be able to present these directly.
- Sectors spoke to the impact, assistance, and help needed in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Dr van Zyl commended the President’s actions in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic, confirming that PPGI would contribute to unblocking where we are able to do so.
- Roelf Meyer emphasised that PPGI is a special purpose vehicle and it is not our intention to compete with existing formal organised business structures, but only to exist as long as the work is helpful.
The President was very pleased with the reports provided, and indicated that this enabled him to get a ‘handle on the details’. He indicated that the spotlight on the sectors was extremely helpful and requested that PPGI meet with him on a 6 monthly basis going forward (rather than the 1 year report previously planned).
2. COVID-19 Business Response
The meeting was also requested to provide feedback to the President on:
- Sector impact
- What sectors were doing to mitigate the impact, support the national efforts, and able to contribute
- How government could assist.
Two of the key cross cutting issues raised included:
- Importance of the ports and transport networks remaining open
- Clarification on whether the 100 person gathering limit applies to workplaces. The President was clear that it should not. We have received subsequent feedback from the Department of Labour confirm this, provided comprehensive social distancing, health and safety interventions are applied. Click here to view the COVID-19 guidelines received via Rudi Dicks who has confirmed that there are no plans, at this stage, to regulate the number of workers in a workplace as a result of the pandemic.
The President indicated that this is uncharted territory and we need to work together. The private sector has a role to play to minimise the risks to the country, its people and the economy.
Immediately following the meeting we were asked to consolidate the feedback on what sectors were willing to contribute. These included, among a host of other interventions: hotels offering space for international tourist isolation; ICT industry putting in place a bulk messaging service for public health or emergency messaging to the public; call centres offering to augment the Health and NICD helplines; and hospitals developing a contact, trace, and track system.
Government has been actively working on a number of the suggestions made by PPGI for temporary interventions. These include: expediting the competition commission exemptions for the health sector to engage with each other in response to the virus; implementing UIF provisions to enable continued earnings during the period; clarification on maximum workforce size ( see above), monetary policy interventions and small business relief.
Formal business structures, such as BUSA and BBC, as well as their members, have set up a Business COVID-19 Response Initiative. There the following workstreams:
- Health – headed by Stavros Nicolaou
- Economic – headed by Martin Kingston
- Labour – headed by Rob Legh
- Communications (cross cutting) – headed by Phumzile Langeni and Busi Mavuso
Each stream is being resourced pro bono at the highest level by individual business leaders as well as those from the likes of PWC, Deloittes, KPMG etc. They are pulling this together under a PMO (project management office).