By Costa Nkomo
THE Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) has told Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube to take the ZW$18 billion stimulus package to Parliament for scrutiny before the funds are disbursed to companies whose coffers have been affected by COVID-19.
In his May 1 State of the Nation Address, President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced the government had set aside a ZW$18 billion package meant to resuscitate the formal and informal industries affected by the lockdown in the wake of the pandemic.
“Our rescue and stimulus package of ZW$18 billion is, therefore, based on our aspiration to meet the diverse requirements of our national economy that include capacitating the micro, small and medium enterprises, as well as those in the informal sector. These institutions have borne the worst brunt of the lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic,” Mnangagwa said on the day.
However, the social and economic development watchdog, ZIMCODD in its weekly update, challenged Mnangagwa and Ncube to go beyond announcing the figures but to explain in detail the source of the funds and how it would be disbursed for transparency purposes.
“The Minister of Finance must bring before Parliament the ZW$18 billion stimulus package for debate and approval. Considering the tight fiscal space, the government must not only announce the gross amount but rather disclose the source of funding for the stimulus package,” it said.
Meanwhile, ZIMCODD has implored Parliament to effect a forensic audit to track down every COVID-19 donation made to government for accountability and transparency purposes.
“Upon resuming its sitting, the Parliament must order for a forensic audit overall resources donated to ensure transparency and accountability.”
Parliament is currently on a break due to the COVID-19 lockdown and is expected to resume sitting on 19 May.