EDITORIAL | Creativity key to coping with high cost of living
Just as some industrious entrepreneurs are finding creative ways to make ends meet, so too should government
Our economy is bleeding. Consumer confidence is at its lowest in 35 years, barring the Covid-19 lockdown level five period. According to the FNB/BER index released yesterday, it had plunged to -25 in the second quarter, across all income groups. This after having already slipped from -9 to -13 index points in the first quarter of the year.
FNB chief economist Mamello Matikinca-Ngwenya said the dramatic deterioration in consumer sentiment signalled a marked slowdown in willingness to spend in the coming months. This would mean a significant slowdown in consumer spending growth. The latest Household Affordability Index shows the average cost of a goods basket for basic food and personal hygiene items is nearly 14% more than a year ago. Public transport fares are set to rise in July and the annual electricity hikes will come into effect in the same month, not to mention another increase in the petrol price. Inflation is at a five-year high and the SA Reserve Bank is set to make a decision on an increase in the repo rate at its next meeting.
All of this sets the scene for suffering and our state is battling as much as private citizens to cope. Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) commissioner Teboho Maruping on Wednesday warned its kitty is getting depleted, with Covid-19 Ters payouts denting its coffers in the past two years. “I’m concerned, if the economy continues not to pick up in terms of creating jobs, creating entrepreneurs and companies surviving, it is going to affect the UIF kitty. Sooner or later the UIF will run out of funds. It is a concern that we and exco engage about,” said Maruping...