Ramaphosa’s R500bn Covid-19 relief and stimulus response

R200bn loan guarantee scheme will assist companies with turnovers of less that R300m to pay salaries and other costs.
As the Covid-19 pandemic takes a worsening toll on SA's economy, President Cyril Ramaphosa revealed an "historic" emergency relief package on Tuesday. Image: Shutterstock

The private sector and its employees stand to receive a significant share of the government’s R500 billion Covid-19 economic stimulus and social relief package, announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his latest address to the nation on Tuesday night.

Among the most noteworthy new measures to help mitigate the economic, social and healthcare fallout of the global coronavirus pandemic on the country, is a R200 billion loan scheme to assist affected medium and smaller businesses in paying out salaries and other expenses.

Read:
South Africans urged to ‘endure a little longer’ as lockdown extended
Covid-19: Priority is to save smaller retailers, say landlords

The president said the new scheme would be targeted at companies with turnovers of less than R300 million a year. He noted that while measures already announced by government are providing obvious relief to many companies and workers, it is “clear that there is a far greater need” across the entire economy.

“We will therefore be introducing a R200 billion loan guarantee scheme in partnership with the major banks, the National Treasury and the South African Reserve Bank,” said Ramaphosa.

“This will assist enterprises with operational costs, such as salaries, rent and the payment of suppliers. In the initial phase, companies with a turnover of less than R300 million a year will be eligible,” he explained.

“It is expected that the scheme will support over 700 000 firms and more than three million employees through this difficult period. A number of the banks are ready to roll out the product before the end of the month,” he added.

Read:
Grant increases, food vouchers in R500bn stimulus package
Wider relief for companies struggling to pay workers

Meanwhile, Ramaphosa announced the introduction of further tax relief measures to support businesses. These include:

  • A four-month holiday for companies’ skills development levy contributions
  • Further fast-tracking of VAT refunds; and,
  • A three-month delay for filing and first payment of carbon tax.

“To assist a greater number of businesses, the previous turnover threshold for tax deferrals is being increased to R100 million a year, and the proportion of PAYE payment that can be deferred will be increased to 35%,” he added.

“Businesses with a turnover of more than R100 million a year can apply directly to Sars on a case-by-case basis for deferrals of their tax payments. No penalties for late payments will be applicable if they can show they have been materially negatively impacted in this period.”

In addition, the president said that taxpayers who donate to the government’s Solidarity Fund Covid-19 social response initiative will be able to claim up to an additional 10% as a deduction from their taxable income.

He said that in total the tax measures (mentioned above) should provide at least R70 billion in cashflow relief or direct payments to businesses and individuals.

As the Covid-19 pandemic takes a worsening toll on the local economy, Ramaphosa described the scale of government’s emergency relief package as historic.

Read: Business expects Covid-19 impact to be worse than 2008 crisis

“It demonstrates that we will not spare any effort, or any expense, in our determination to support our people and protect them from harm. We will – and we must – do whatever it takes to recover from this human, social and economic crisis,” he said.

The president pointed out that the R500 billion overall relief package announced on Tuesday night, represents the “second phase” of government’s economic response to the pandemic and economic fallout. He said the support package amounts to around 10% of SA’s GDP.

“The impact of the coronavirus requires an extraordinary coronavirus budget – of around R500 billion – to direct resources towards fighting the pandemic. This includes the reprioritisation of around R130 billion within the current budget. The rest of the funds will be raised from both local sources, such as the Unemployment Insurance Fund, and from global partners and international finance institutions.

Read: IMF: No discussions with SA

“To date, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, BRICS New Development Bank and the African Development Bank have been approached and are working with the National Treasury on various funding transactions. Some of these institutions have created financing packages that are aimed at assisting countries that are having to address the coronavirus crisis like us,” he added.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is expected to give more detail on several of the new economic stimulus and relief measures announced by Ramaphosa.

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Sorry folks. This is the beginning of the end. The productive private sector in South Africa has been hamstrung which means tax revenues are going to plummet and many businesses will go belly up, helicopter money or not. Let me translate: helicopter money is the claim on the production or wealth of another without you having to produce anything in return. The ANC regime ran out of plunder years ago. Now they will resort to the printing press. Ignorami on this site will been keen to point out that a weaker rand is good for exports. They don’t think this through. It means a deterioration of the marginal terms of trade. South Africans now have to work extra hard to earn the money for the same imports that go into the subsidised motor industry, for example. No country ever got wealthy by debasing their currency making their citizens poorer. Rich countries have stable currencies, low interest rates (a market phenomenon btw) and low unemployment. Any benefits of a weaker currency are ephemeral. Wages will rocket to make up for the debased currency. To have a “living wage” will be the mantra. The rand has been on a debasement trajectory for 50 years and SA is still not an economic powerhouse?? When petrol gets to R100 per litre, South Africans will rue the day they willingly gave custody of the country to the ANC who ruined it.

Woza Zimbabwe. And rapidly too.

We are not Zimbabwe you idiot. Otherwise go live in Zimbabwe if you love Mugabe so much. This country is dynamic and brilliant. You are the regard.

Dad ape, I think you missed OuBok’s point…
And BTW Mugabe is dead.
Also, you cannot use an Adjective like BRILLIANT to describe any Country.

When I saw the amount, i thought i was under the influence, but then i remembered – no liquor for sale, for heaven sake, what does the anc think they are doing – the rand is already down the drain, do they think this action will improve it??? this is zimbabwe just a matter of time – ask money from the big soe tax money spenders eskom etc + the government with 100x too many useless cadre employees
anc want to blow 500bn and can not even pay back eskom’s 400bn to settle eskom’s foreign loans
2 other things: if a Gods wonder happens and there is an economical upswing i can guarantee you the first thing to happen is load shedding – the load shedding proves eskom is the problem itself; don’t tell me that we must gradually get out of the lock down / sleep – easy to stop everything 100% – as an integrated economy getting gradually out of the sleeping economical state is simply not an option

Life can not be measured in money value – but sometimes i ask myself: did we really need this economical disastrous lock down action? – please give me the actual audited stats on how many people die annually from flu / aids / and motor- and other accidents in sa and compare that with the current coverd19 stats

Last moaning sentence: the anc does not have any financial insight whatsoever – from top to bottom

The nation’s transformation system has been a Form of ‘helicopter’ money all along and that was unsustainable.

….moderation is taking its time

the sowetanlive.co.za has a very good opinion piece by Prince Mashele

Read his article dated April 20th

Excellent article. Especially agree on his point regarding the diplomatic missions – it is a dumping ground for loyal cadres who have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar and need to be shipped away out of sight..

R100 a litre hey? Must be nice to be so certain about what’s going to happen in this world.

Will the world ever apologize for forcing us to give this once great country to the ANC.

“we” cannot blame the world for this blunder. this was what the left liberal media pushed and the capitalists gave in. for me it is not so much about giving the country away, but rather that of capitalists allowing themselves to be ruled and managed by communists. how stupid can a capitalist minority be ? PW Botha warned us about the “Rooi Gevaar” but at that stage “we” all though he was mad.

Agreed. We should have ring fenced and kept the Western Cape. Made citizenship hard to get, but residence rights for all “South Africans”(as defined then). We could have made a truly non-racial society and kept free market principles… That would have left some political power, as all capital would have ended up being run from there instead of Mauritius.

Out of R500 billion only R20 billion is earmarked to fight the virus. That means R480 billion will be employed to try and limit the fallout from the lockdown.

This government jumped the gun with the lockdown and then had to extend it while having no clue how to even feed people.

It ended up being about alcohol and cigarettes while people starve.

They now want to through money at the problem and it will be done in the same unorganized unplanned way.

We will go into a serious depression because of this lockdown and the resultant fallout. He used the radical economic empowerment term again last night without explanation. All it means is they will continue in the same way

This lot has now admitted that the illconceved lockdown has cost us R480 billion so far. Its just the beginning.

If R20 billion is now required to fight the virus what could have been done with R50 billion without lockout. Would have been cheaper and a depression could have been averted.

Self Inflicted and this lot should not be praised but held to account for the decisions the made.

Politicians invariably respond to crises — that in most cases they themselves created — by spawning new government programs, laws and regulations. These, in turn, generate more havoc and poverty, which inspires the politicians to create more programs . . . and the downward spiral repeats itself until the productive sectors of the economy collapse under the collective weight of taxes and other burdens imposed in the name of fairness, equality and do-goodism. “Atlas Shrugged” by Anne Ryan has come to life here.

Correction: Ayn Rand wrote Atlas Shrugged.

Ever heard of a TYPO especially when upset?

I feel your pain Griet.

You are very right.

Our leader never mentioned last night that he now employed the whole defence force to police us. Why not?

Is the plan maybe to go state of emergency? I wont put it past them. This alcohol and cigarette thing is really getting out of hand.

Be very careful. Don’t spend a cent that you don’t have to. This lot can never fix this problem they single handedly created. NEVER.

The over employment within the Govt and SOEs is radical economic empowerment programmer that caused the recession in the first place. So maybe he will use R470bn for paying salaries of dead wood labor.

Im suprised they wont allow fags and booze to be sold- and im not saying open bars and go wild- just allow one to buy a beer and a pack of smokes when they want to. Those are first items in the annual budget to attract higher ‘sin taxes’. Cyril help us to help you.

I am EXTREMELY CONCERNED.

Why would you deploy your entire defense force and call up all your reserves??

No other country has taken this step in the fight against the virus.

Is there a Civil War being planned for !!!

Parrabellum !!!

I found it odd that Ciyril the Squirrel felt the need to put on an Army uniform 4 weeks ago . Leaders in uniform right through Africa have probably been the biggest destroyer of value in living history. Very worrying.

….because the population will both see a farce in the government and a rise in death as winter arises

the population will know Ramaphosa and his “wise guys” cronies have lived it up for three weeks, whilst they have been subjugated (enslaved) into terrible conditions and mostly likely forced unemployment

Ramaphosa fear of the hospitals turning into morgues and the resulting riots that will follow

So much for Ramphosa famous speech “NEW DAWN” …..utter crock

…concerning yes. Note sure why the large call-up….maybe the CR faction is going to fight the Magashule/Zuma-faction(?)

R500 billion!! The IMF or World Bank is not mentioned as a source…..the source(s) for such funding is very opaque.

….and that’s exactly what Eskom needs to kill its debt.

I smell a rat.

Could this be “prescribed assets” in the making & still to be announced? (The the large military call up to silence our protest?)

The big troop call up is worrying . Is the ANC planning to take control of country by using the armed forces ?
We all know they lost financial control long time ago , so this could very well be the plan . It’s not a policy foreign to African countries . Watch this space ……. very very carefully !

Navy Firing in False Bay yest , one transport and one Jet over Cpt so far today : Are planning a Coup to take over themselves ?

Basically they are trying with 10% of GDP to finance this crisis?
R200 billion for companies to borrow to pay wages and salaries, why not giving each taxpayer the money straight into their account?
Borrowing to pay wages? They surely are smoking seriously the wrong stuff! Don’t know but borrowing against what future income will destroy most businesses?

Absolutely. What business in its right mind would borrow money to pay wages to employ staff to face a major economic downturn?

Only SAA might qualify, but that’s hardly a business in its right mind

To state it differently, that’s around 40% of all taxes collected in a year. In a normal year where most firms are actually making profits.

Could the unemployed not do a bit of organized work for there relief payments, such as picking up litter?

The wisest comment so far!

Old man:

It would be interesting to see what would happen if a thousand readers dropped off 100 heavy duty bags and ten gloves at one of the the many roadside informal housing arrangements. Will there be 100 full bags next day for council to collect? Will council collect?

I wish I could upvote this again and again. Demand more from grant recipients!! There must be SOME community service demanded, either from the recipient himself, or from his caregiver.

My thinking is that lockdown will be in place for some time and the extra payments is to pacify the needy masses while all the army is called up to ensure compliance… since the starting up of the economy may still be a very long process…

On a positive note …..
– our 5 week long lockdown seems to have slowed the rate of infections and deaths …so far so good
– this R500b relief plan is better than no plan
– Drunk driving accidents and alcohol related violence have reduced considerably
– the environment worldwide has had a chance to recover some sort of balance …long may it last
– it looks like SAA will finally be put to bed
– our mandatory BCG vaccination policy seems to be giving us some sort of immunity – holding thumbs
– our President is acting with the dignity and Intelligent concern which is more than we can say about the leaders of the US and the UK

So. On a scale of 1 to 10 we are probably scoring 7.5 which is better than most countries.
Now all we need to do in the short term is care for those that are really vulnerable and in the long term get the economy kickstarted.

All that is needed from each an every south african citizen is for us to play our part by supporting and acting responsibly during these unfortunate pandemic times. Nobody in the world had a faintest idea of what this pandemic is nor how to handle it. Much to the government’s defence, they are doing the best they can under the best scientific, economic and socialistic advice they got. Unlike these frivolous comments i have just read above, that are making more confusion to most people that are truly looking for some sort of comfort that we will come out strong as a nation even under these murkiest conditions. More comments like Mactheknife would certainly do good in bringing hope in people’s minds…….

You obviously forgot the economy. I refer you to James Carville’s words during Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign. Maybe 4/10 and no signs of learning anything. The chickens are coming home to roast (sic).

The anc saw that one coming Paul…. No cooked food (or roasted chicken) during Lockdown.

The scale is broken because they are not testing and I talking about the drive up or walk up testing done for free.
You cannot believe their numbers.

Well said, thanks for some clarity and rationality.

80% of the comments are so negative and accusative that they are missing the point and do not see how fortunate we are for not having lost tens of thousands of lives so far (not to think the threat is over).

Look at what is going on in the US and just think before you type moan and complain.

You have no sheeple here, Sir, believing everything politicians say.

COVID-19 provided the perfect excuse to approach the IMF/World bank and save face. The R500 billion will be used to bail out SOE’s, pay civil servant’s increases and keep the gravy train running. Of course, a significant portion will disappear along the way but that was always a given. But the government debt will just increase and postpone the inevitable.

There may be NO planes flying but I SEE THE VULTURES CIRCLING AGAIN!!!!

Who on earth is advising the cabinet?

The R500b is unaffordable. The US and UK and others can throw around 10% of GDP because they are anyway at 110% borrowings and their interest cost is 0.25% so basically free. Our interest cost was unaffordable before, when we had some income tax, this is like sticking a thorn through our foot for next decade.

How do they ever stop the extra grant funding? You cannot put the cork back in a champagne bottle! Our social welfare was along with interest as mentioned crippling our ability to invest in infrastructure.

On grants also : this was a 6 week impact, so I get say 8 weeks assistance. With no proof of impact or need, government is going to roll out seven months of extra grant funding!

What is the impact after adding lost taxes??

All bets off on the Runt for short and medium term.

We are in this boat because of a draconian lockdown that shut economic activity and has outside of suburbia not brought about any of the social distancing effects the lockdown is supposed to achieve. If government thinks alcohol and tobacco has stopped they are complete idiots.

The aid package will hobble the entire country for decades. Time for hard choices : the lives of a few ten thousand or the livelihoods of a nation

Source unknown but goes something along the lines of …”No government can give anyone anything without having taken it away from from someone else!”

….socialists/progressives/communists commonly follow that idea

They don’t teach that in the ANCcadre deployment leaving school.

This will backfire just like the food that was supposed to go to the poor and hungry.Lift the damn lockdown so Sa can get rolling again.

The economy set free without restrictive employment requirements and BEE ratings and the like will move us to boom. Handouts help no-one long term and fraud will be rife.

I am going to reserve judgement on the source of the 500 Billion. With the world pandemic creating the chaos that abounds, I believe it is possible that Cyril could pull a rabbit out of the hat. Firstly 500 billion rand is a hell of a lot less dollars. Overseas interest rates are non existent. Aid packages and stimulus packages could actually end up being very very cheap funding. There might even be funding available that requires no repayments and or a combination of long terms and zero interest rates. Cabinet’s decision to let SAA go is an example of him trying to shed some weight off treasury. So for now I am on the fence with this one until we some indication as to the cost of funding and the source. What is clear is that there has never been a better time than now to get cheap funding. I dont believe we will print money.

The future source would be an increase in VAT if I had to take a guess. Then at least we know everyone pays.

They call it an “assistance package” “financial aid” or a “funding package”. When this loan comes from the IMF or the World Bank, then the loan is in terms of a basket of currencies of which the US dollar forms the largest part. This loan is meant to form part of the foreign reserves of the local government. The money is not paid out to citizens. It is meant to act as a buffer in a currency crisis. So, who are they actually helping?

The economies of developed nations depend on exports to emerging markets whose trade balance is under strain during a currency crisis. Emerging markets run out of reserves to pay for imports and they cannot service their dollar-denominated loans. For developed nations, the purpose of the assistance to emerging markets is to ensure a steady market for their exports and to safeguard their own banks against the credit default by the country who receives that aid package.

So, I ask again. Who are the ultimate and real beneficiaries of this “assistance package”? Any loan is a transfer mechanism that syphons capital from the borrower to the lender. Financial aid is the modern form of feudalism. More importantly, it ensures a continued demand for dollars(that are printed out of thin air) and thereby funds the American lifestyle.

Who are the ultimate beneficiaries and who are the real donors in this situation? The real inequality is not confined to South Africa, although the leftists like to punt it like that. The real inequality is between the poor in South Africa and the wealthy in developed nations.

It is very clear that the poor are ecstatic when they receive an “assistance package”. They are overjoyed when they are granted a loan. That implies that the poor nations, and specifically their voters, are extremely happy to be poor.

No one is forced to take a loan… it is only those that can’t save for rainy days that do… and that is because they do not want to adjust their lifestyles to reality. In short, its not the lenders fault that a loan is needed.

I am with you there. The point is that the borrower is a borrower because he thinks like a borrower. The poor are poor because they have a mindset of poverty. The wealthy are rich because they are so successful at providing the poor with the stuff they want. The beauty of this is the fact that the entire process is voluntary. Nobody forces anything upon anybody. The free market allows everybody to change his life into a manifestation of his mindset. This is why it is totally wrong to blame the poverty of some people on the wealthy.

The entire debate about inequality is based on ignorance and stupid greed.

As much as this is a socialist plan at heart, even though we’ve seen similar measures in capitalist states, it has come with measures that can be good for business if made permanent.

Let’s take the freeing up of radio frequency spectrum. It was done so quickly and swiftly it reminds you that South Africa is really capable of a lot. The only problem so far has been Telkom who have pointed out that they have had some of their spectrum expropriated. If, we don’t reverse this after lockdown and let the providers keep the spectrum for 4G/LTE and 5G use the we’re one step closer to the 4th industrial revolution.

Secondly, the reduction in taxes that are being passed to businesses by allowing them to withhold upto 35% of PAYE after paying their employees is a good measure that would be great for businesses if made permanent. This can also be made permanent and yield great results for the business community.

With respect to the increase in grants, this is also the right step. Let’s face it, no one will be buying a car, house or buying investments with that money. Those are the sorts of things reserved for the rich. If anything, that money will aid more of the rich as the unemployed will suddenly have bank accounts to manage, they’ll fill up food and alcohol shopping stores and maybe also have enough to start an informal business.

The scrapping of carbon taxes and the like should also be long term. Granted Sasol and Eskom have to change their pollution trends, a tax isn’t the way to get them to clean up their act, in fact it isn’t the way to get anyone to clean up their act. We’ve seen this with the sugar tax which only resulted in smaller coldrink bottles.

These measures, can easily be seen as business friendly. And yes, in aware that it’s mostly loans to businesses but if government makes them law it’ll aid business and create the business environment we’ve longed for.

Two thoughts:
1. One hopes that the ruling elite realise that a loan has to be repaid. Or are they planning on defaulting and then asking for the loan to be written off as has happened in the rest of Africa?
2. Is this really going to go to business or is this another slush fund for the ANC and their cadres? Like the food parcels?

The rest of the world will do a write-off of the money given to poor Africa in the years to come. Africa will and can never pay back the money. Watch this space.

They are not that stupid. This can also be seen as the most expensive election campaign ever. If they are really serious for the economy to grown-ban all unions which are the main cause of inflation. Demanding more and more with less and less production. But the ANC wont because they need their votes. It is all about themselves as individuals. Could not care @$%^ for country

Understand that whatever CR and his party do it is to entrench their position to stay in power and continue looting and living the good life by keeping their 17plus million grantees who vote them in happy. they have failed in creating zuma’s 5 million jobs , a few months back CR announced a SEZ outside Pretoria , he has already gone back on his word to foreign investors.uif payments are not gonna be paid because the site is defective. this govt does not deliver

What happens to the ANC’s illegal sale of the nation’s strategic fuel reserves.

Maybe the refund of that would help right now!

I am waiting for fund managers to give their opinions on whether this is a good idea or not…..but for grant beneficiaries, this is a great idea! an extra R500 for six months! R350 for the unemployed too!! Cyril has ensured that the ANC will win every single election until Christs second return! Have you seen the tweets? They are calling him a hero.

Ignoring the insanities of no exercise or hot pies, few can deny the need to ensure that people do not starve. Whatever your moral views, food shortages and prices cause revolutions;at a minimum our safety is at stake.

But for the unemployed with no UIF or other grants (and presumably no savings) it’s R350 a month. This compares to a minimum wage of around R3,000-R3,500 or an official food parcel of R1,200. Exactly how much “relief and stimulus” is this? Especially in an economy when marginal businesses are verboten.

By contrast, the average ANC MP who generously gives up 1/3 of their salary is left with approx R50,000; income they obviously wish to keep, hence the ANC simply adapting its grant-politics to the new situation.

We have more than tripled our budget deficit over the last 15yrs because we couldn’t generate growth required to reduce funding requirements so please explain how we are ever going to repay this additional R500bn funding when it becomes due?
R500bn 10yrs ago was approx.$70bn and now it’s only worth approx.$26bn! That’s what 10yrs of mismanagement, corruption & destructive ANC policies (BEE, militant labour unions, mining charter, EWC, etc.) does to one’s wealth…

What is clear is that the ANC played Russian roulette with the Gvernment’s finances and the country’s economic prospects and…LOST BADLY.

Why not give each family in SA a million rand and tell them to get on with i?

If they don’t need it they can give it back. Maybe Johan and Patrice may not need it.

R500 billion… man the cadres must be excited to get their grubby little paws on it.

R500 000 000 000 / 59 000 000 people = R8 748 each.

thanks emeftee, have cabin fever and my Zumathematics got the better of me.

But rework it, R8748 is more than some have ever seen in their lives, and if you exclude the whites it is even more.

If the average family is say 5 then we get R45000 per family……

WHY HAS CYRIL DEPLOYED THE ENTIRE DEFENCE FORCE AND RESERVES!!!???

We were supposedly happy supporting the large total police force of over 200,000 with around 3,000 troops – why was it necessary to add another 70,000 troops.

We are all discussing the WRONG POINT. You do not deploy your entire military for any reason, not even usually in war, some reserves are kept back. Yet this directive was issued yesterday, immediate cost to do this and sustain this for a month is around R4 billion.

We are not at war, are we? Well our president certainly expects us to be shortly. The only enemy out there is 59 million very angry South Africans – so clearly he is imminently expecting:

1. That he is about to announce a further extension to the lock down and this will be like dropping a lit match onto a petrol soaked pile of charcoal.
2. He is no idiot and neither are the 200 or so that surround him and the 2000 or so that support them – they know we have the most highly trained populace on earth with regards to being ruthless, militant and murderous.

Read the speech it is all in there. He talks about not being able to lift the lock down too soon, otherwise he risks a RESURGENCE the deadly virus – SIR we are still patiently waiting for the first SURGE, you cannot have a RESURGENCE without it. Last time he waited until about 8 days before lock down would end, before announcing the lock down would be extended, he might wait for his Thursday clarifications, but i would expect the announcement to come shortly thereafter, maybe Friday or the weekend. After all the 30th is next Thursday already.

The military deployment will take 48-72hrs to be largely completed, so only by Saturday or likely Sunday evening will the 73,000 soldiers be in place with all the massive support structures and logistics that requires – feeding, fueling, providing quarters etc and sustaining 73,000 men is no small task, hence the price tag of R4 billion.

So i will leave you with this, if you honestly believe the lock down will be lifted this time next week – why would you deploy the entire defence force only to be in place for 4 days, at a cost of R4 billion, only to have them pack up on Friday the 1st of May and go home – you do not.

Soldiers are a very blunt instrument. Also not equipped with anti riot gear, they are by their nature equipped with lethal weapons.

Our president may have waxed lyrical about the R500bn and our prospects for the future. Meanwhile APVs and tens of thousands of soldiers were already rolling out of barracks across SA being deployed – something is a little off i would say.

my fellow citizens….
there is NO FREE LUNCH…. where ever on the globe – keep well

End of comments.

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