$3,5bn for vulnerable households

Paul Mavima

THE Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare has budgeted $3,5 billion to cushion over 500 000 vulnerable households that will receive cash payouts to mitigate the impact of Covid-19.

Allowances for vulnerable persons have since been raised to $800 from $300.

The kitty that has been set aside will be shared by more than 500 000 workers in the informal sector, 5 000 returning residents in quarantine centres and 700 children living in the streets.

The programme is set to run for six months and will see households receiving foodstuffs during the lockdown period and beyond.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima said he will meet Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube to finalise modalities for distributing the funds.

“This is a programme that seeks to provide safety nets for vulnerable families during the lockdown period,” he said.

“We are going to meet with the Ministry of Finance soon to finalise finer details of how the funds will be allocated.”

In a letter dated January 6, 2021, seen by The Sunday Mail, Permanent Secretary for Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Mr Simon Masanga requested $3,5 billion from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to cater for the disbursements.

“In light of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare is requesting for a fund to cater for social protection needs of anticipated returning residents, removal of children living and working in the streets and informal sector workers who will be affected by the lockdown measures,” reads the letter.

During the initial lockdown, the Government provided cash to 309 146 informal sector workers.

The Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) covered tuition, examination fees and levies for 991 000 orphans and vulnerable children.

For 2021, the Government plans to cover 1,5 million beneficiaries under BEAM.

Food parcels are also being provided to vulnerable households in both urban and rural areas.

“The programme is reaching out to 735 455 households while development partners, World Food Programme and its partners are also supporting some
vulnerable households with food assistance in form of grain, pulses, cooking oil and
at cash in times of drought and emergencies,” part of the report from the ministry said.

“In Gutu and Highfield, the ministry with support of UNICEF, through GOAL, is reaching out to 5 902 vulnerable households with emergency cash transfers.

“The volumes of transfers is US$12 per person up to four members per household.” – Sunday Mail