Government has started disbursing money to vulnerable groups that were affected by the 21-day lockdown, with the first beneficiaries in Harare and Bulawayo receiving their payouts yesterday.
The Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Small and Medium Enterprise Development has availed a database of 129 000 SMEs to be considered for the Government bailout.
This was said by Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima during yesterday’s post Cabinet briefing.
“We have other databases of those who are marginally food insecure with almost 3,5 million people, but we have to look at the neediest out of those so that we can reach the one million whom we have budgeted for and the disbursement are already underway,” he said.
In a separate interview, Prof Mavima’s deputy, Lovemore Matuke said payouts for beneficiaries from other provinces will be ready by tomorrow.
Government has availed $600 million through Treasury to cushion vulnerable households whose sources of income were largely affected by the 21-day national lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19, while a separate package was being worked on to cushion SMEs and vendors.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube announced the facility two weeks ago.
Government said it would ensure the beneficiaries were not charged transactional costs when cashing out.
It recently said it would continue to implement selected priority programmes and projects to sustain the economy, but more resources would be channelled towards saving lives.
Further, the two percent intermediated money transfer tax (IMTT), which is ring-fenced for social protection and capital development projects, will be channelled towards Covid-19 related mitigatory expenditures.
Government has also availed a number of tax incentives for production and importation of essential drugs and health related capital equipment, as well as other medical supplies.
Treasury has suspended duty and tax on various goods and services related to testing, protection, sterilisation and other medical consumables to boost the country’s state of preparedness against Covid-19.