Prof. Mthuli Ncube

Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube says government has released ZWL$500 million to fight against COVID-19, and is ready to attend to further requests on this issue.

In addition, Ncube said Treasury has provided an additional ZWL$50 million to Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) for preparedness against COVID-19 and to cater for the health requirements for civil servants who are the majority members of the Society and Treasury will be providing further resources as and when required.

“Treasury is redirecting capital expenditure allocations under the 2020 National Budget towards health-related expenditures including water supply and sanitation programmes. However, Government will continue implementation of selected priority programmes and projects to sustain the economy and these include roads and dam construction, irrigation and water and sanitation projects, among others.

“The 2% Intermediated Money Transfer Tax (IMTT) which is currently ring-fenced for social protection and capital development projects and hence, will ordinarily be channeled towards COVID-19 related mitigatory expenditures,” said Ncube.

“Additional resources will constitute some cuts from respective Ministry allocations/budgets and details are being worked out. Treasury has issued a Circular of 20 March 2020 instructing line Ministries to identify areas for cuts and areas for redirecting expenditures.”

Ncube said during the initial stages, Treasury availed US$2 million for urgent and immediate health related imports and will continue to mobilise and ring-fence the necessary foreign currency required for additional imports for the short to medium term.

“Resources earmarked for mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic are being ring fenced to ensure achievement of planned activities. Treasury has directed the utilisation of the existing National Disasters Accounts to serve the purpose of this crisis.

“Treasury has also concurred to the unfreezing of over 4 000 health sector posts and creation of an additional 200 medical posts with a view of scaling the response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ncube.

Ncube said Treasury has set aside resources to cover one million vulnerable households under a Cash Transfer programme and payment will commence immediately.

“Treasury will initially be availing an amount of ZWL$200 million per month under a Cash Transfer programme over the next 3 months and both the amount and duration of payments will be reviewed as necessary. The Social Welfare Department will use its usual mechanisms to identify the beneficiaries,” he said.

“Treasury is currently engaging the Health Services Board and the Public Service Commission to urgently put into place a comprehensive insurance cover for all Government employees whose nature of work involves direct interaction with COVID-19 patients in line with international best practice.”

Source – Byo24News