Firms must do more to fight Covid-19 Mr Gwanyanya

Business Reporter

THE corporate world should continue to rally behind Government’s efforts to curtail the spread of the coronavirus by coming up with viable projects that can be funded by Treasury under a US$220 million facility secured from development partners.

The funding was extended by the country’s development partners after President Mnangagwa and the United Nations in April this year launched a domestic and international humanitarian assistance appeal following last year’s drought, devastating impact of natural disasters and outbreak of the coronavirus.

The appeal seeks to mobilise US$1,8 billion, including US$300 million needed specifically for Covid-19 response measures, for the humanitarian efforts.

The Covid-19  facility covers key pillars of coordination, planning and monitoring, risk communication and community engagement, surveillance, rapid response, investigation, points of entry, national laboratories, infection prevention, control,  case management, procurement, support and logistics.

Bullion Group, which is one of the beneficiaries of the fund, managing director Persistence Gwanyanya said  last week at the launch of the ZIMCOVID-19 Health Booths Project in Epworth just outside Harare, which was funded from the facility, that corporates needed to rally behind Government efforts against the pandemic.

Mr Gwanyanya challenged the corporate world to continue to chip in and partner Government in combating the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He took the opportunity to applaud all organisations that have seen in fit to contribute towards efforts aimed at helping the spread information on Covid-19 so that the public can be well informed about the risk of the pandemic and how they can avoid it.

“Let me congratulate Bullion Health Care, which is a member of the Bullion Group, as well as the University of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe College of Pathology  for realising the need to collaborate in the fight against Covid-19, which is now a global pandemic, by establishing the ZIMCOVID-19 Health Booth Project,” said Mr Gwanyanya.

Mr Gwanyanya said the corporate world needed to collaborate and come up with viable projects that can be evaluated and if approved by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, get financial support under financial resources pledged by development partners.

Mr Gwanyanya noted that Government, through its various arms, had taken a multi-sectoral approach to neutralise the impact of Covid-19 on the country, including by availing a stimulus package, and challenged the private sector to emulate such positive efforts.

“On the 23rd of May this year we woke up to the sobering announcement that our Treasury had availed a Covid-19 stimulus and economic recovery package of $18,02 billion.

“The Governor of the Reserve Bank (Dr John Mangudya) chipped in with what is now known as the Medium Term Accommodation Facility of initially $1,5 billion and which was increased to $5 billion,” he said.

Mr Gwanyanya said the aforementioned financial package from Government had moved the corporate world to realise that they had a role to play in the combating of  the Covid-19 global pandemic.

“This is clearly a challenge from Government and we realised the need to chip in and organise the corporate world around supporting the Government effort,” noted Mr Gwanyanya.

Mr Gwanyanya  challenged corporates to come up with innovative projects that can help Government efforts to curtail the spread of Covid-19, pointing out that the bulk of the funds were lying idle waiting for projects with impact to which they can be deployed.

“As I speak today, I do with the full knowledge that the country has already had funds pledged by developmental partners for support to the tune of about US$220 million, but disbursement of the funds is only at US$20 million, this speaks of a serious gap we seek to close as the corporate world.

Mr Gwanyanya noted that it’s now high time for the corporate world to do something and not to just wait for Government.

“Our new narrative like our new normal is what can we do for the Government.

“This is what we have done for the Government to organise efforts around this imperative as we do so, we seek to inculcate a sense of responsibility, and ownership in the corporate world,” concluded Mr Gwanyanya.

He also singled out the Nyaradzo Group, Econet Wireless, Total Zimbabwe and Best Comforts for supporting of the initiative.

The Bullion Group function was attended by Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr John Mangwiro and Dr Isaac Phiri among others.

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