Thursday, 9 July 2020


SOCIAL Welfare minister Paul Mavima has revealed that government has only managed to pay about 202 000 vulnerable people out of the targeted one million the monthly $180 cushioning allowance, saying Treasury is yet to release the needed funds to support the programme.  

This comes as in May this year Mavima told the Daily News, on the side-lines of the burial of Zanu PF politburo member Absalom Sikhosana at the National Heroes Acre in Harare, that government had paid 201 000 people the $180 cushioning allowance, despite having promised to increase the money to $300. 

Speaking during a post-Cabinet media briefing held in Harare on Tuesday night, Mavima said the government was aware that the promised grant had been eroded by inflation and that the slow pace in paying the allowance to the vulnerable was because Treasury had not yet availed the necessary funds. 

“The grant started off at $180, but it’s now at $300. Repeatedly, we have said that we continue to engage the Treasury to increase and release more funding. “However, all these are functions of the budget and available resources. 

“As such, we will continue to engage Treasury on issues of the money and whether we can up it a little bit, taking into account the issue of inflation. 

“We have now paid about 202 077 beneficiaries and we continue registering others and we will be paying them $300 this month.

“Initially, we experienced delays in registering people because we wanted to make sure that those who are registered are really bonafide vulnerable people and we had to go over the database many times over,” Mavima said.

 Since the beginning of the national lockdown imposed to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19), many people, particularly those in the informal sector, lost their sources of income thereby making them vulnerable to starvation.

Several civil society organisations have called on the government to expedite the implementation of social protection measures to cushion citizens who have lost their sources of livelihoods. 
“The government continues to reiterate that it will implement the social protection programme to vulnerable households which will see them receiving cash transfers of $300 per month as support income. However, nothing of this sort has been fulfilled.

“To make matters worse, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe has stated that a family of six now requires $8 551 for groceries a month while a further $5 666 is required for basic requirements such as housing and clothing. 

“The administrative and operational delays in disbursing social protection grants by the government, while communities face increased hunger and destitution with little relief, and in the face of soaring inflation is untenable.

This has raised a general sense of discontent and disgruntlement by the communities over the delays in the implementation of social protection measures,” the Women’s Coalition in Zimbabwe (WCOZ) said.

Meanwhile, Mavima indicated that the cushioning allowance was meant to assist vulnerable people access basics rather than to cater for all their needs. 

“When we introduced the Covid-19 grant, the intention was to enable people to access basics such as mealie-meal.

We have other programmes that were running already like the cash transfer programme where people were getting $180 and other programmes from our partners such as the WFP and these are complementing the Covid-19 cushioning allowance,” Mavima said. Daily News


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