Zimbabwe spends $1.2 billion on coronavirus


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Zimbabwe has been able to meet increased funding requirements brought on by the  coronavirus pandemic by utilising budget surpluses carried over from last year, a cabinet Minister has said.

Unlike other countries, Zimbabwe has been denied access to Covid-19 emergency funding being availed by institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

As such, it has had to rely on public and private domestic resources, while foreign financial and material aid from countries including China, the United Arab Emirates and Japan has also been received.

In the absence of emergency bailouts from Internationals Financial Institutions, which other countries are getting, Zimbabwe’s Covid-19 response was made even harder.

But despite the odds, the country has held its own, even unveiling an $18 billion economic stimulus and rescue package to keep the economy running.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said months of sustained fiscal discipline which resulted in budget surpluses had helped the government to readily avail Covid-19 funding.

He said government expenditure in response to Covid-19 had exceeded $1.2 billion as of 31st of May.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care, he said, had received the highest disbursement of $640.2 million as the frontline ministry in the Covid-19 fight, while the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education had received $44 million for the production of personal protective equipment and hand sanitiser by local universities.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, which is providing cushioning allowances to vulnerable members of society affected by the Covid-19 lockdown, had received $144.5 million while the Zimbabwe Republic Police which is enforcing lockdown regulations has received $37 million.

“Support was primarily directed towards procurement of PPE’s and that is why you see health has received the bulk of the financial releases. We have also provided funding for screening equipment, testing equipment and to capacitate isolation centres, the idea was to strengthen health intervention efforts and enforcement of the lockdown restrictions,” he said.

“Financial resources were also extended to institutions of higher learning for the production of PPE and sanitisers as well. Disbursements were also made towards social protection targeting at least 1 million vulnerable households affected by the lockdown, that is the target, we are not quite there yet we are pushing towards the target as we identify more vulnerable people. We are also targeting the homeless who have been placed in various shelters around the country and in quarantine centres. But basically the resources are within the Parliament approved 2020 national budget.”

He said although government expenditure had increased, it was still within the set budget.

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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