By Bruce Berry, CEO of TMA-SA
It is difficult to believe that we are almost halfway through 2021 already. The good news is that there are signs of economic recovery with the overall outlook looking more favourable than it was a few months ago. Consumer spending is up, following the relaxation of lockdown restrictions. The economic growth rate for 2021 is expected to be between 2,3 and 2,4%. The Reserve Bank has also decided to keep the repo rate at 3,5%. However, the Monetary Policy Committee has cautioned that interest rates are not likely to stay at this level for much longer and that an increase in the repo rate is expected before the end of the year mainly as a result of an increase in inflation. Inflation increased to 4,4% in April, up over one percentage point from March.
The beginning of the Covid-19 vaccination programme is further good news especially as rates of infection are starting to climb again. With the northern hemisphere heading into summer, it is interesting to see that certain countries heavily dependent on tourism, such as Spain, will soon allow tourists who have been vaccinated to visit the country. Given the importance of the tourism and leisure sector in South Africa, and one which was severely impacted as a result of the lockdowns in 2020, perhaps a similar scheme needs to be implemented here. Learning to live with the effects of the pandemic is going to be a feature of our lives for a long time to come - the so-called “new normal”. This paves the way for such schemes to be considered and implemented speedily to enable the economy to open up again.
This brings me to the point of “agility”. Agility thinking is becoming a new buzzword and refers to the way of thinking which enables the ability to respond to change, or to solve problems, quickly and easily. If there is one thing the pandemic has taught us, it is that one needs to be flexible and innovative to survive in a constantly changing environment. The five essential beliefs of Agile Thinking are motivation, working collaboratively and collectively, delivering value, paying attention to quality and reliability, and continuous improvement. These attributes are also crucial for turnaround professionals and business rescue practitioners to consider during a turnaround.
The future is both daunting and exciting. I hope we are up to the challenge … so please use the resources and networking offered by TMA-SA. Together we can make a difference and ensure that the “new normal” is better for us all.