National Treasury IGR-CSP convenes a bi-monthly City Economic Development Managers' Forum t in terms of a City Budget Forum decision to focus on city economic recovery within the COVID-19 disaster. COGTA, the DALLRD, DSBD, DTIC and SEDA all participate.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the downgrading of SA's investment grading has placed huge financial and development pressures on South African cities. There are huge demands on metros from a disaster and health perspective. All the metros are under growing pressure from business in terms of their ability to pay rates, rentals and service delivery charges and to provide information on what national support instruments are available. Metro municipalities are developing their economic responses to the crisis.
However, many of the economic support measures that businesses must access lie at national government level. As such, metro economic responses must be a collaborative inter-governmental and societal effort.
To facilitate inter-governmental co-ordination, the City Economic Development Managers' Forum will perform the following functions:
- Facilitate information flows between metros and key economic sector departments to:
- Provide updates on available economic relief measures
- Provide feedback on the uptake of these relief measures (e.g. employee, SMME and informal trader) by national sector departments
- Provide feedback on business and community' perceptions and experience of these measures by the metros; and
- Share and address data requirements by both national sector departments and metros.
- Act as a platform for metros to test their own economic relief and recovery measures to ensure city relief measures:
- Do not duplicate national interventions
- Do not encourage double-dipping by firms and individuals; and
- Are fiscally and legally sound.
The inception meeting was held on the 14th April 2020. This meeting agreed on the objectives of the Forum. National Treasury and SEDA presented on national economic support measures that had been put in place. The cities reported on difficulties in SMMEs accessing the available support and engaged on their actions to facilitate information flows to businesses. The cities also shared their economic recovery measures that were being considered.
In the second Forum meeting held on the 28th April 2020, National Treasury provided an update on government's economic and social response and relief measures announced by the President as part of the second phase of the country's COVID-19 response. The DARDLR provided information about its R 1.2 Billion farmer support programme. A highlight in this meeting was a presentation made by the EThekwini Metro on its draft Economic Recovery Plan. The Open Data Lab also engaged the metros on support that could be provided to the metros to manage and analyse data that could assist in their economic development responses to COVID-19 and the current economic crisis.