This column was first published in Business Day
This is war. There is a health front, but also an economic front. Saving the economy will require wartime thinking.
Start by considering the radical steps other countries are taking.
The UK government last week announced that all workers whose jobs are made redundant because of the Covid-19 pandemic will be paid 80% of their salaries by the government up to £2,500 a month (R50,000).
Businesses and the self-employed have been given a six-month extension on paying income taxes to January 2021 and three-month VAT holiday. The government and Bank of England have created a loan scheme allowing the central bank to lend directly to large companies that face liquidity strain while bank loans to small companies will be 80% guaranteed by the government.
The government has put up £20bn of grants to cover rent and business rates that companies cannot afford. The Financial Times believes the direct costs will be £43bn assuming only 1-million workers end up on the salary support scheme.