Monday, August 06, 2012
by Staff Reporter
THE elderly and child-headed families have started receiving cash payments of between US$10 and US$25 per month to help mitigate the impact of current economic difficulties, a senior government official has said.
The programme has already covered 18,000 households in ten of the country’s districts. Officials said they hope to extend the assistance to 250,000 households by 2015.
“The programme is in a phased approach with the goal of reaching all 65 districts by 2015,” said Lancaster Museka, Secretary for Labour and Social Services.
“To date, two cycles of cash disbursements have taken place. A delayed payment cycle for May and June is being prepared and will be paid within the coming few weeks.”
Zimbabwe is recovering from a decade-long recession characterised by hyper-inflation, shortages of most basic commodities and massive unemployment as companies were forced to close due to inclement operating conditions.
Although the economy has recorded consistent growth over the last few years, the most people are still struggling to survive with unemployment remaining high while the few lucky enough to have a job earn well below the poverty datum line of about US$560.
Museka said the cash assistance programme, which will be extended to all the country’s provinces in phases, is funded by the government and international development partners.
“The donors who have pooled their resources so far are DFID, SIDA, the Netherlands Government and European Commission,” Museka told state media.
“Unicef provides additional financial and technical support over and above the donor funds it manages through the Child Protection Fund.
“Government, through fiscal funding to the ministry (Labour and Social Services) matches the donor funds on a 50-50 basis and this year it committed US$7 million which was revised downwards to US$2 million during the Mid-Term budget review by the Ministry of Finance.
“The funding will increase annually both from donors through the CPF and Government.”
Districts covered to date include Mangwe (Matabeleland South), Umguza (Matabeleland North), Mzilikazi (Bulawayo Urban), Epworth (Harare), Makoni (Manicaland), Rushinga (Mashonaland Central), Goromonzi (Mashonaland East), Kariba (Mashonaland West), Chivi (Masvingo) and Zvishavane (Midlands).
Museka said officials were already working including more provinces in the programme.
“The modalities for payments remain the same when the next 10 districts are brought on board to make a total of 20 districts that will be receiving payments in 2013,” he said.
“The process will be repeated towards the end of next year and the coming years with an additional 10 districts added per year until full national coverage is reached.”