Coronavirus: Zimbabwe, Nigeria adopt cash-transfers to most vulnerable

The Zimbabwean government on Monday (March 30) reported that it had budgeted over $600 million to cover one million vulnerable households under a cash transfer programme for the next three months.

The move is part of efforts to mitigate the impact of Covid-19, for which reason government imposed a 21-day total lockdown to contain its spread. The measure announced last Friday started yesterday.

According to Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube, the Social Welfare Department will use its structures to identify the beneficiaries under the facility. An amount of half a billion dollars has already been provided to fight Covid-19.

The ministry said it was ready to attend to more requests. “Vulnerable groups in our society are the most exposed under this Covid-19 crisis,” he said.

“Accordingly, Treasury has set aside resources to cover one million vulnerable households under a cash transfer programme and payment will commence immediately,” he added. Zimbabwe recently okayed the use of the US dollars due to coronavirus related economic squeeze.

The country’s health system is one of the continent’s most fragile. With 7 confirmed coronavirus cases and a death, health workers have threatened to abandon their posts if not provided with the needed protective gear to face the virus.

Over in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, President Buhari in an address last Sunday ordered financial intervention schemes be rolled out for the vulnerable. Lagos state and other states are rolling out state-level interventions.

Sadiya Farouk, minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development, confirmed on Monday that the ministry has commenced cash transfer to poorest households in the country to cushion effect of the COVID19 pandemic.

Records indicate that as of February 29th, 2020, the Federal Government had identified 10,695,360 individuals in 35 states across the country as the poorest and most vulnerable Nigerians, during this crisis of COVID-19 pandemic.

Nigeria’s population is at 200 million. Two states and the federal capital, Abuja, are currently on lockdown imposed by the federal government. The country has 131 confirmed cases with two deaths. The commercial hub of Lagos as at Monday March 30 accounted for 61% of the total number of cases.