BY VANESSA GONYE
THE Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd) has called on government and other institutions implementing COVID-19 programmes to be transparent and accountable for all resources allocated or donated to combat the pandemic.
Zimcodd recently created a COVID-19 resources tracker, which tracks all donations and budgetary allocations towards programmes meant to deal with the pandemic.
It strengthens transparency and accountability on the part of government on COVID-19 resources, while empowering citizens with information to hold the government to account on the allocation and utilisation of funds.
In a statement yesterday, it said the country continued to mobilise resources internally and externally to respond to the devastating socio-economic impacts of COVID-19
“The 2021 National Budget has set aside $7 billion to recruit more health personnel, procure personal protective equipment, testing kits and sundries required to fight COVID-19.
“The government has also budgeted $3,5 billion to cushion 500 000 vulnerable households whose beneficiaries comprises the informal sector, returning residents and children living in the streets,” the statement read in part.
It said the COVID-19 lockdown period led to a disruption of economic activities and livelihoods, resulting in increased poverty and vulnerability.
“While the government is commended for allocating $3,5 billion to cushion the vulnerable, and the distribution of COVID-19 relief funds, the stringent conditions and lack of accountability remain a cause for concern,” Zimcodd said.
It said results from its tracker revealed that total pledges to the government were US$639 021 159 and the honoured pledges were US$349 361 492.
“For the week ending January 22, 2021, the total pledges were US$576 951, the honoured pledges were US$576 951 and the amount spent was US$1 509 646.
The honoured pledges and amount spent are inclusive of donations made before this week,” it said.
The coalition said the fundamental pillar in containing the spread of COVID-19 was for people to have accurate information about the virus.
“It is, therefore, imperative for the government to be proactive and keep citizens informed and aware of new developments regarding the pandemic, especially with the COVID-19 vaccine that is being rolled out amid reports of a new COVID-19 strain,” it added.