ONE-million households identified through the Social Welfare Department to benefit from the $600 million kitty availed by the Government to mitigate the effects of Covid-19 are set to start receiving their cash transfers today.
This comes as the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases has risen to 18 after 53 samples were tested yesterday and one was positive.
The Government resolved to cushion vulnerable households, whose sources of income were affected by the 21-day national lockdown, which is aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19.
The $600 million package, for three months, was announced two weeks ago by Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube.
To ensure that the beneficiaries realised the full value of the payouts, the Government would ensure that they were not charged transactional costs when cashing out the money.
EcoCash has already indicated that it will not charge transactional costs on funds pertaining to Covid-19.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Deputy Minister Lovemore Matuke confirmed to The Herald yesterday that cash transfers for the beneficiaries were processed and would be effected starting today.
“The names of the beneficiaries have been sent to the network providers to effect the payments. The money should start reflecting in their mobile phones starting on Wednesday (today). There was a bit of some delay because there was duplication of names, for instance, one name can appear in Mabvuku and Mufakose, so we were scanning those names to ensure that they appear once in the database. The scanning process took a bit of time,” said Deputy Minister Matuke.
He dismissed reports that beneficiaries were being forced to use NetOne sim cards to receive the money, adding that both NetOne and Econet networks would be used, depending on the beneficiary’s preference.
The Government hopes that all the beneficiaries would have received their money before the end of the lockdown.
Deputy Minister Matuke said should there be any technical glitches or errors, people would continue to receive the money even after the lockdown period.
The Government recently said it would continue to implement selected priority programmes and projects to sustain the economy, but more resources would be channelled towards saving lives during these trying times.
Further, the 2 percent intermediated money transfer tax (IMTT), which is ring-fenced for social protection and capital development projects, will be channelled towards Covid-19 related mitigatory expenditures.
Recognising the importance of the health sector, the Government availed a number of tax incentives for the production and importation of essential drugs and health-related capital equipment, as well as other medical supplies.
Treasury has also suspended duty and tax on various goods and services related to testing, protection, sterilisation, and other medical consumables to boost the country’s state of preparedness against Covid-19.