If you were hoping to benefit from a partial or total write-off of debt under the debt-relief exercise mooted by the government, don't hold your breath. It's not likely to happen any time soon and unless you are not earning an income, you probably won't qualify. A draft bill circulated among members of parliament's portfolio committee on trade and industry proposes, among other things, that the minister of trade and industry be empowered to grant debt relief to certain overindebted consumers at his discretion. However, the bill contains no clear definition of who would benefit from debt relief, says Anton Alberts, a Freedom Front Plus MP. Furthermore, it has been created in the face of the National Treasury's opposition; in the absence of a regulatory impact analysis; and ahead of the committee's planned trip to Wales, Scotland and the EU to ascertain how other countries have dealt with debt relief, Alberts says. "The economic rationale and effect [of the relief] must be established...

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