By Staff Writer
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Paul Mavima has revealed that government is yet to disburse the promised ZW$200 relief funds to vulnerable groups meant for the COVID-19 induced lockdown.
While government has been receiving medical equipment in its fight against the respiratory ailment, critics say authorities have failed to provide safety nets to the less fortunate groups.
Mavima told delegates during a Zoom Video Conferencing organised by ZIMCODD which ran under the theme Impact of COVID-19: Future of work and Public Finance Management issues that his ministry is currently engaging Finance minister Mthuli Ncube to increase the relief support.
Government has committed to provide assistance of ZW$600 million to small businesses, vendors and the elderly and according to Parliamentary watchdog, Veritas, this figure only translates to a meagre ZW$200.
According to the 2019 Labour forces and Child labour Survey, only 2% of the country’s population is covered by safety nets. This means that pressure is now mounting on the fiscus to provide food to over 7,7 million people which the World Food Program said were in need of urgent food assistance.
At current levels, ZW$200 is enough to buy two litres of cooking oil and three loaves of bread. According to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, the country’s consumer basket stood ZW$6 420 in March and with inflation on an upward trend the figure will also continue to soar.