Ending pandemic-boosted welfare schemes in Australia could see the economy lose A$31.3 billion ($22 billion) and 145,000 jobs over the next two years, a new report by Deloitte Access Economics revealed on Tuesday.
JobSeeker unemployment benefits have been doubled since March to combat the economic effect of the health crisis, reports Xinhua news agency.
However, the supplement is scheduled to fall from A$550 to A$250 a fortnight from September 25.
Commissioned by the Australian Council of Social Service, Deloitte’s analysis found winding back the supplement this month and then removing it in December could reduce the size of the economy by A$31.3 billion over the next two years.
Meanwhile, reversing JobSeeker payment to pre-pandemic levels could see an average loss of 145,000 full-time equivalent jobs.
Deloitte Access Economics Partner Nicki Hutley said every dollar that the government invested in JobSeeker was generating a significant economic return, helping to pave the road out of recession.
“Providing people without paid work with enough to get by is highly effective economic stimulus, as they have little choice but to spend straight away on essentials,” she said.
“People on higher incomes have the option of saving, which many are doing right now given the uncertainty of the pandemic. This is why other measures, such as income tax cuts, would not be as effective in getting us out of this recession.”
Australian Council of Social Service CEO Cassandra Goldie called on the government to extend the existing supplement and move quickly to legislate a permanent, adequate JobSeeker rate.
“There are a lot of things that are not in our control in this pandemic but one thing that the Government does have control over is ensuring that everyone has enough to cover the basics of life, including a safe place to live.”
A total of 26,692 Covid-19 cases have been reported in Australia, while the national death toll stood at 816.
Flipkart Wholesale expands footprint to 12 new cities
Digital business-to-business marketplace Flipkart Wholesale on Thursday said it has expanded its operations to 12 new cities ahead of the festive season.
Flipkart Wholesale will now be operational in Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Mysuru, Chandigarh Tricity, Meerut, Agra, Jaipur, Thane-Bhiwandi-Ulhasnagar, Greater Mumbai, Vasai-Virar-Mira-Bhayanadar, Thane (Kalyan-Dombivli) and Thane (Navi Mumbai).
Expanding with the fashion category in these cities, Flipkart Wholesale said it is looking to digitally transform kiranas and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to help them grow faster, retain their customers, and improve their profitability.
“As we enter the festive season, we are excited to be scaling up our offerings across 12 cities, aiming to create more opportunities for MSMEs and Kiranas,” Adarsh Menon, Senior Vice President and Head – Flipkart Wholesale, said in a statement.
“From trendy Jaipuri Kurtis to evergreen Mysuru silk saris, we aim to help small businesses embrace the digital transformation and emerge as more robust businesses,” Menon added.
By this year-end, Flipkart Wholesale also plans to expand into categories such as home and kitchen, and grocery.
Flipkart Wholesale said its customers will have access to easy credit facilities in partnership with leading banks and non-banking financial companies to manage cash flow.
E-commerce platform Flipkart first announced the launch of Flipkart Wholesale’s operations earlier this month.
At the time of the launch, the platform was available for fashion retailers, especially footwear and apparel, in Gurugram, Delhi and Bengaluru.
Nepal-China border point reopens after 3-week closure
Nepal’s Chinese conundrum: The imbalance and debt trap.
The Rasuwagadhi-Kerung border point between Nepal and China reopened on Thursday after it remained closed for around three weeks due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a senior customs official said here.
The border point, which is one of the key trade routes between the two country, was closed after a Nepali worker tested positive for the novel coronavirus, reports Xinhua news agency.
Earlier, it reopened in early July after it was closed for nearly six months firstly due to snowfall in the bordering Chinese region and later because of the Covid-19 outbreak.
“Two containers of medical goods entered into Nepal after the reopening of border point on Wednesday,” senior customs officer at Rasuwagadhi, Punya Bikram Khadka told Xinhua.
“Now, we hope the movement of goods will take place normally.”
According to the officer, there has been a restricted flow of goods through this border as both countries have adopted zero human-to-human contact policy between the two sides until the pandemic is over.
The Tatopani-Zhangmu, another border point, which reopened in late March after closing in January, has also remained shut for the last few months.
Imports fall leads to New Zealand’s largest trade surplus in 6 yrs
New Zealand imports fell nearly NZ$1 billion ($650 million) in August, leading to the country’s largest annual trade surplus since 2014, the Stats NZ said on Thursday.
The NZ$1.3 billion annual goods trade surplus reflected a rise in exports and a fall in imports over the past months, Xinhua news agency quoted Stats NZ as saying.
“The recent falls in imports and growth in exports resulted in an annual trade surplus not seen since the strong 2013-2014 dairy export season, when product prices were high,” senior analyst Nicholas Cox said in a statement.
Imports of crude oil, cars, and other vehicles were much lower than usual in recent months after the Covid-19 pandemic, Cox said.
New Zealand’s demand for fuel dropped due to the international and domestic travel restrictions, which were put in place to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
During the lockdown in April, imports of vehicles were particularly affected by international trade restrictions and the closure of vehicle dealerships as non-essential businesses, he added.
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