Business Group Says Keen On Knowing Covid-19 Rescue Beneficiary Firms

A local employers’ group has challenged treasury to release a list of companies which have so far benefited from government’s $18 billion Covid-19 stimulus package.

The package was announced May this year by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to assist local businesses whose operations were severely disrupted by the height of the Covid-19 induced lockdown period.

Speaking during an exclusive interview broadcast live on NewZimTV recently, Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe president, Israel Murefu said treasury still needs to avail finer details.

Murefu hailed the initiative which he said was meant to help businesses survive the turbulent period.

“So if there was a way to get the statistics maybe through the central bank, Bankers Association of Zimbabwe or through some other industry bodies, it would assist so that we know who has been assisted, who has not and this also enables us to know what can be done to assist those who have not benefited,” he said.

The employers’ group leader said he has experienced some problems in the operationalisation and access of the package.

“When you talk to our members, you appear not to get anyone who confirms having accessed the package.

“This makes it difficult to know what is exactly happening and also when banks lend to companies, it is a confidential issue and they don’t go out to name the beneficiaries under the stimulus package,” said Murefu.

He acknowledged that the package may not be in the form of cash since part of it was coming in the form of guarantees but questioned whether there was enough liquidity provided to banks for onward transmission.

Recently, Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube claimed $6 billion of the package had been injected into agriculture alone, but farmers said they had not received anything from treasury.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries reported that up to 30% of jobs have been lost since the government responded to the coronavirus pandemic by announcing blanket lockdowns that grounded the economy.

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