By Robert Tapfumaneyi
Stimulus package of $3 billion for Manufacturing, $6 billion for Agriculture, $1 billion for Healthcare and $500 million SMEs
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has announced a ZW$18 billion Economic Rescue Package for distressed companies, most of which will be allowed to reopen on Monday while the rest of the country remains under lockdown for a further two weeks.
The amount is equal to 9 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or 28,6 percent of the 2020 National Budget.
In a special address to the nation at State House Friday, Mnangagwa said the financial intervention is intended to meet the diverse requirements of the national economy during the difficult period.
The package will also capacitate micro, small and medium enterprises and those in the informal sector.
“The package is proportionate to the disruption the virus has caused in our national economy,” Mnangagwa said.
“The Economic Rescue and Stimulus Package is designed to scale up production in all sectors of the economy in response to the adverse effect of COVID-19.
“The package will also be used to address the needs of the small-scale industries, improve health facilities, reduce poverty and hardships and assist vulnerable groups in our society.
“While most countries will continue to benefit from financing packages from multilateral lenders like the IMF, World Bank and AfDB, Zimbabwe will unfortunately not benefit.”
Mnangagwa said his government remained grateful for the bilateral support it continued to receive from countries such as China, United Kingdom, India, United States of America, United Arab Emirates, African Union and the European Union, among other benefactors.
“We equally commend the business community, humanitarian organisations and non-governmental organisations who are assisting the country at this time of great need,” he said,
Added the President, “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.”
He also announced that ZW$500 million of the package has been set aside to assist the Micro, Small Medium Enterprises sector.
“The lack of income for small companies and individuals has resulted in an increased number of vulnerable households in the country,” he said.
“This situation has been worsened by the ongoing drought which has led to huge food deficit requiring imports to bridge the gap of our requirements.”
The lockdown period was expected to end on the 3rd of May.
The President in his address also said the informal sector will remain closed and public transport such as commuter omnibuses also remained banned with buses only allowed to operate.
Mnangagwa said industry will re-open but will be operating from 8 am to 3 pm everyday.
Public gatherings will remain below 50 with churches and other public places such as restaurants and bars remaining closed.
To date, 40 people have tested positive to COVID-19. Five have recovered while there have been four deaths recorded.