Zimbabwe gets US$70 million to fight Covid-19.
In an interview after touring Midlands State University (MSU) which is manufacturing hand sanitisers and making face masks in Gweru yesterday, Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube said Government was grateful to international and local partners who were helping in the fight against Covid-19.
He commended local companies and universities that are also complementing Government efforts.
The Minister said a system is in place to account for all donated funds. “We are also grateful to our international cooperating partners who have contributed to this to support the Government fight Covid-19 pandemic. Added up so far and I am just talking about money in dollars and cents, we are in the region of over US$70 million for now and that is excluding donations in kind from all over and that is including UAE, Jack Ma Foundation, China and from other countries around the world and we have also received support from local Zimbabweans who have donated cash. I just looked at the balance from the crises response fund and the balance is growing every day,” said Minister Ncube.
“Locally we have companies that are donating PPE equipment and other things. All that is valuable and at the end of the day we will value it all and share with the nation how much we received. So, we have a full accounting system to be applied to show how these resources would have been used.”
He said Government is expecting a drop in revenue inflows due to Covid-19 which is a negative development in terms of coming up with funds to support Government programs.
The Minister said Government is also faced with a lot of obligations which include cash payments to vulnerable groups so that they don’t starve due to difficulties brought about by the threat of Covid-19.
“We expect a drop in revenue collection due to Covid-19. We collect taxes from people, from citizens, companies and others and imports and we actually expect a drop but that’s expected. We would also expect a slightly bigger deficit this year. Last year we archived a small surplus of $437 million which is good for the whole year.
It was not an easy year but we still managed to balance the books and against this year we would like to balance the books but we are aware of the pressure that the COVID 19 has put pressure on revenues,” said Minister Ncube.
“It not just lost revenue but we also have expenditure of course. We are going to start paying one million citizens $200 per person per month and we are going to expand that because we are aware that there are 3,5 million citizens in need of assistance in urban and rural areas and that costs money and so we are working on a bigger recovery stimulus package post-COVID-19 or post-lockdown to support our industry to make sure that people don’t lose jobs. That costs money. So, we have two situations were on one hand the revenue has dropped slightly and on the other hand, there is the demand to support people which has increased. So, we expect a bigger deficit than expected. But it’s for a good cause because every country is trying to do the same to respond in a similar way.”