Experts discuss economic effects of Covid
The panellists included Nedbank Group South Africa senior economist Nicky Weimar, head of Nedbank Namibia CIB Dr Edward Turner, Simonis Storm economist Theo Klein, and Simonis Storm managing director Bruce Hansen, who also moderated the discussion.
During the discussion, Klein presented on the economic impact and response to the pandemic. The presentation outlined that even though the Namibian economy has been declining for the last six years, the pandemic, which resulted in government having to introduce its lockdown policy, amplified the decline.
According to a Simonis Storm report, the sectors hit hardest during this period include metal ores, beverages, accommodation, food services, meat processing, basic non-ferrous metals and transport. Growth is, however, forecasted for these sectors, but only marginally. Economic contractions have also resulted in job losses and retrenchments in these sectors.
Weimar emphasised the urgent need for people to be vaccinated.
“Companies can enforce compulsory vaccination, as it is their property and they can’t really risk putting a large number of people’s lives at risk because a few do not want to get vaccinated. At Nedbank South Africa, we are considering adopting the same policy. We certainly will enforce staff who work face-to-face with clients to get the vaccines, and you could see more companies do that,” Weimar added.
Turner agreed, adding that scientists have not yet provided clear answers on what caused the pandemic and why people should take the vaccines. It appears that many people need clear answers before they are willing to take the vaccine in the current scenario.
Concerning some of the lessons to come from the pandemic, Turner emphasised that one needs to be prepared. “We need a big rethink - where we are, and where we want to be. That is my hope for the country,” the former lecturer and researcher said.
In the same vein, Klein inspired Namibians to be more creative - to find ways to grow their businesses, or, for the unemployed who lost their jobs during the height of the pandemic, to turn their hobbies into income-generating ideas.