Govt mulls informal sector social protection
Harare (New Ziana) – Government will provide social protection in various forms to people in the informal sector whose livelihoods have been affected by the nationwide lockdown imposed to combat Covid-19, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Tuesday.
Zimbabwe, which currently has 10 cases of Coronavirus including one death, is in week two of a 21 day national lockdown imposed to curtail the spread of Covid-19.
Due to the informalised nature of the economy, many have not been able to attend to their daily activities because of the lockdown, meaning that household incomes are now severely constrained.
President Mnangagwa said government was aware of the serious economic implications the lockdown has had on the lives of the people.
“Many of our people in the informal sector who feed their families from informal activities are now affected for this period, they are not able to continue to feed their families but the decision had to be taken so that we limit the spread of the pandemic,” he said.
“Government will do its best to attend to those affected by this decision by making sure that our social arm, the social security networks that we have are expanded to take care of those who have been affected.”
President Mnangagwa added: “I realise that not everybody is happy about being kept at home, but I plead with everybody that in the interest of everybody else, let us, for the period, keep at home let us keep the distance recommended by the World Health Organisation, it is critically important.
“At the end of 21 days we shall review the situation, I do not know whether we shall relax or tighten the conditions but what is there is that for now this is what we need to do.”
President Mnangagwa said the lockdown was unavoidable although it had serious implications for the national economy.
“We have locked down our borders, all our neighbours have also locked down their borders, which means that our trade and economic activities now stand affected, but still we think that an action taken to preserve life is more important than to allow the spread of the disease just because we want to continue to trade,” he said.
“We are fully aware about the impact of this pandemic and the devastation it has caused in other nations.”
Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa received a ZWL$ 5 million cash donation from beverages company Delta Corporation and an ambulance from Croco Motors to be used in the fight against Covid-19.
Delta also donated a further ZWL$1 million worth of medical consumables.
“This money will make sure that we are capacitated to procure PPE (personal protective equipment), first for the front liners, our doctors and nurses who have the duty to look after our citizens who will be affected by this pandemic, they need to be protected. We know what has happened elsewhere, we would not want to make the same mistakes; we will do everything possible to protect our front line soldiers,” he said.
President Mnangagwa also met and rallied members of the Hellenic, Jewish and Hindu communities in Zimbabwe to join the fight against Covid-19.
He said government, acting alone could not win the fight.
“We need everybody; government must do its part, civil society must do their part. We are in this together, we must fight this together. Nothing is big, nothing is small but it (donating) must be voluntary, no one is compelled to do something they do not want to do,” he said.