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Mnangagwa's govt urged to extend social safety nets

by Staff reporter
24 Jan 2021 at 18:07hrs | Views
THE Women's Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ) has called on the government to extend social safety nets to minimise the burden on breadwinners.

The call comes as Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (Viset) has also urged the government to come in and support the informal sector and assist the vulnerable by giving them grants to survive and continue to abide by the regulations of the Covid-19 lockdown.

The government imposed a month long strict lockdown on January 2 as a measure to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Only essential services that include supermarkets, food shops and food markets, fuel stations and pharmacies are allowed to open between 8am and 3pm with the commercial and informal sectors put on hold.

WCoZ, which has been monitoring developments around the lockdown since last year, said the impact of Covid-19 on women is not only economic but also brings the burden of home-based care.

"We underscore the need for prioritisation of women's access to social safety nets during Covid-19 and the hard lockdown.

"We continue to amplify our concern that the majority of women in Zimbabwe and women-led households are facing the biggest impacts in food security, income loss and care giving burdens.

"We therefore urge the government to expand social safety nets and offset economic impacts for Covid-19 and the subsequent hard lockdown," the coalition said in a statement.

The calls for safety nets are growing as a measure to lighten the burden on people whose livelihoods have been severely affected by the strict lockdown.

Meanwhile Viset president, Samuel Wadzai said as the informal economy they are helpless and this is exacerbated by the fact that they did not get any support from the government as had been indicated earlier when they said they were going to set up a cushioning fund to support the informal sector.

"Viset is well aware of the pandemic and we are abiding by the regulations that were enforced by the government but we are calling upon the government to come in and support the informal sector and assist the vulnerable that are in the sector by way of giving them grants to survive and continue to abide by the dictates of the lockdown."

Wadzai said while the government has assured them that they are still working on the data bases to ensure that it captures everyone who needs to be supported, it is taking too long and should be expedited.

He added that the closure of the borders has resulted in them not able to restock their enterprises.

"The complete shutdown of the informal economy has only resulted in poverty and as Viset we are of the view that there should be a way to incorporate and categorise the informal economy under the essential services providers. Because with over 95 percent of the population surviving through the informal economy surely by closing the entire informal sector it means we are rendering the great number of people who are surviving through the informal economy destitute.''

On his part, deputy minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Lovemore Matuke said the government is doing all it can to support the underprivileged people.

"We are working towards supporting the informal sector and we are doing our best as government," Matuke said.

Source - dailynews