ACTIONAID Zimbabwe (AAZ) has implored the Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ) to ensure that COVID-19 resources are allocated and utilized in a transparent and accountable manner.
Through their microblogging site, ActionAid said it was critical to include civil society and other non-state actors in the COVID-19 taskforce in order to promote transparency, accountability, inclusivity, and diversity in the process.
AAZ acknowledges the actions being taken, including the resources that have been mobilized and set aside by the government, to stop and mitigate the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic. In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Minister of Finance established a Coronavirus Crowdfunding Scheme to beef up resources for national use. He further stated that he ring-fenced the 2% Intermediated Money Transfer Tax (IMTT) for social protection and capital development projects, and proceeds from the tax to be channeled towards COVID-19 related mitigatory expenditure.
“Furthermore, ZWL$600 million was set aside as financial support over three months (ZWL$200 million a month) for small businesses and vulnerable people affected by the lockdown which translated to the selected one million social support beneficiaries receiving ZWL$200 per month,” said ActionAid
They added that more donations have been handed over to the GoZ in form of money or resources from the likes of Jack Ma, the Chinese businessman and philanthropist, the Government of China, local corporates, as well as development agencies, partners and Zimbabweans living in the diaspora but there was little transparency in terms of how the resorces are being dibursed and used.
“AAZ reaffirms its solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe, and in particular people living in poverty and marginalized groups as we fight to overcome the pandemic together. In the same spirit that the GoZ, development agencies and philanthropists have publicly announced and pledged their support to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, there is need to ensure that these funds and resources are accounted for and used sensibly.”
Meanwhile, the AAZ implored the government to uphold principles of transparency and accountability through providing timely and relevant information related to the allocation and use of resources as the nation responses to the coronavirus pandemic.
“AAZ calls upon the GoZ to consider the following in increasing transparency and accountability measures whilst utilising the COVID- 19 response sourced resources and funds: Government should put in place monitoring mechanisms towards ensuring that funds and resources secured for the Covid-19 interventions are accounted for and used discerningly.
“Government should also open and promote space for citizen’s participation in demanding for transparency and accountability in the health sector towards reducing the evident inequalities in the sector. Government should also ensure improved response and transparency of Government towards the criteria used to identify selected social security beneficiaries and ensure fair an d equitable distribution of relief materials to citizens, especially those living in poverty and marginalised communities.”
They added that government must ensure the inclusion of civil society and other non-state actors in the COVID-19 taskforce in order to promote transparency, accountability, inclusivity, and diversity in the process.