By Robert Tapfumaneyi
MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa says government should avail forms of financial support to individuals and families affected by coronavirus.
He was speaking in a live briefing broadcast online in the wake of the Covid-19 menace that has seen government impose a 21-day national lockdown to try and contain the pandemic.
The opposition leader said those who go into quarantine are not able to continue fending for their families and should start receiving forms of assistance from a deliberate national fund.
“Those who are tested and confirmed positive must get a form of financial support for a month while they fight and the deceased family a government relief fund for their beneficiaries,” said the opposition leader.
“Bereaved families need a Government Relief Fund for the beneficiaries so that we are able to create a social safety net.
“Cushioning citizens from economic distress and speed up roll out of humanitarian support is vital. We must put in place social protection nets.”
Chamisa said funds must be sourced from the surplus that has been declared by Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube from government’s 2% levy on electronic transfers.
He urged the current Zanu PF led administration to ensure such assistance is given to beneficiaries free of any political bias.
The opposition leader also pledged his party’s full support towards efforts aimed at ameliorating the hardships experienced by ordinary locals.
“We suggest a new and robust method in the provision of water, food, particularly mealie meal in the townships and countryside,” he said.
“On our part (MDC-A), we have already instructed local authorities to do everything in their power to avail water.
“We call upon central government to provide the necessary resources…we suggest government subsidises and reduce the price of fuel and electricity and mobile network providers must reduce internet tariffs, price of data during this period of fighting the pandemic.”
Chamisa urged government to also create a new model that should see the country’s informal sector decongested.
“Perhaps this is a perfect chance for new models of distributing our (fruit and vegetable) produce to the communities to be evolved,” he said.
“In our context where we have over 5.7 million people in the informal sector, it is important to be elaborate in support mechanisms.”
The opposition leader said there was also need to plan ahead for a return to normal life without leaving any section of the society behind.
“A clear strategy on how the economy will be rescued and be made to come back to life, how people will return to work, how children will go back to school,” he said.
He added, “A back to normal life roadmap, a reconstruction and recovery programme and creation of an enabling environment aimed at reducing the pain coming with coronavirus and general economic decay, which was at its peak even before corona.”