By Munyaradzi Musiiwa
The Government has with immediate effect directed all non-governmental organisations operating in the country who were giving aid in the form of foreign currency to either buy food using the money and donate to the beneficiaries or give out local currency.
This comes after Government outlawed the multi-currency regime and restricted domestic transactions to local currency through Statutory Instrument (SI) 142 of 2019, in an effort to enhance the affordability of goods and services by the majority.
The Government recently had a meeting with the World Bank and United Nations representatives as well as embassies in the country through which humanitarian aid comes to deliberate on the matter and ensure that SI 142 is fully implemented.
In an interview, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo said the Government had a meeting with the World Bank and United Nations representatives as well as embassies in the country to discuss the matter.
“As you are aware I am the chairperson of the inter-Cabinet Committee that deals with disaster and climate change, recently we had a meeting with World Bank and United Nations representatives as well as embassies.
“The Minister of Finance (and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube) was there, the Minister of Public Service (Labour and Social Welfare Dr Sekai Nzenza) was there as well as other ministries.
“We discussed how best we can get help as a country. We told them that non-governmental organisations should stop giving beneficiaries US dollars or any other foreign currency. If they so wish to give them money, they should give them local currency.
“The argument was we have removed the multi-currency regime and restricted domestic transactions to local currency and most people in rural areas to which most of the aid goes will not be able to use the money,” he said.
Minister Moyo said there was also growing concern over reports of abuse of food aid where officials in the Department of Social Welfare are allegedly conniving with transporters to exorbitantly charge the beneficiaries.
In the Midlands Province, such cases were rampant in Gokwe where transporters are charging between $10 and $15 per individual for transport.
Minister Moyo said the Government is seized with the matter and will act decisively against the culprits.
“We heard that in Gokwe North a transporter charged $16 000 for one load. We also heard that they are allegedly acting in connivance with some officials from the Department of Social Welfare.
“The report went to Minister Sekai Nzenza who is responsible for those departments. We are seized with the matter and we will soon make a collective decision as Cabinet to deal with those issues and address the challenges,” he said. Sunday News