Ncube urged to take ZWL$18 billion stimulus package to parliament

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By Costa Nkomo

THE Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) Friday urged Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube to take the recently announced ZWL$18 billion stimulus package to parliament for scrutiny.

This follows President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s May 1 special address to the nation on the Covid-19 situation in the country and measures taken by his administration to remedy the economic crisis brought by Zimbabwe’s prolonged lockdown.

In his address, Mnangagwa said the ZWL$18 billion package is meant to resuscitate the country’s formal and informal industries that were affected by the lockdown.

Mnangagwa said at the time: “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.”

However, ZIMCODD, a social and economic development watchdog, in its weekly updates, challenged Ncube to go beyond announcing the figures but to explain in detail the source of the funds for transparency purposes.

“The Minister of Finance and Economic Development 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.”

ZIMCODD further implored parliament to effect a forensic audit to track every Covid-19 donation for accountability and transparency purposes.

“Upon resuming its sitting, the Parliament must order for a forensic audit over all resources donated to ensure transparency and accountability,” said the NGO.

Zimbabwe has also received a US$7 million lifeline from the World Bank to fight Covid-19 and also cater for the remaining care needed in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai last year.

Parliament is expected to resume business on the 19th of May 2020 with the main opposition MDC Alliance MPs now disengaged from its activities after four of their party MPs were recalled last week by reinstated party secretary general Douglas Mwonzora.