By Zivanai Dhewa
…. and shields the vulnerable from the effects of Covid-19
Government announced during the 26th Intergovernmental Committee of Senior Officials and Experts (ICSOE) of Southern Africa, ways in which it has put in place to resuscitate the economy and also protect the vulnerable people from the effects of Covid-19, the Harare Post can report.
While sharing ideas with other SADC Ministers at the meeting, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mthuli Ncube said, “To mitigate the economic difficulties brought by the pandemic, Government has put in place a large stimulus package, amounting to 9% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), to rescue the affected sectors of the economy and to shield vulnerable parts of the population against the worst of hardship.”
Explaining the measures that Government has taken, Minister Mthuli added that, “Government instituted cuts on line Ministry allocations/budgets and redirected capital expenditure allocations under the 2020 National Budget towards health-related expenditures, including water supply and sanitation programmes to fight the pandemic.
“Resources from the 2% Intermediated Money Transfer Tax (IMTT) on electronic transactions was also ring-fenced and channelled towards COVID-19 related mitigatory expenditures.
“Accordingly, resources to cushion one million vulnerable individuals were put in place and payments continue through the Social Welfare Department,” he said.
The Minister further expounded by giving a breakdown on the 9% of GDP Stimulus Package, reiterating that among others it will cover the agricultural sector which is a key sector in the economy as it plays a major role in employment provision and also ensuring food security. Government expanded the hectares for the winter wheat cropping and is currently investing in smart agriculture (Pfumvudza) for vulnerable small scale farmers for the 2020/21 summer cropping season, meant to cut on grain import.
In addition, Government through issued guarantees is currently supporting the Industrial sector with bank loans for working capital. ZW2.5 billion has been put aside for that purpose.
Meanwhile, the SADC Ministers’ meeting will be concluded today.