By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government is failing to raise money to purchase air tickets for stranded students on State scholarships in USA, China, India, UK and other parts of Europe and it has urged parents not to send children abroad for their education.
On Wednesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo appeared before the parliamentary portfolio committee on Foreign Affairs chaired by Zanu PF Makonde MP, Kindness Paradza and said the government was making efforts to bring the citizens home but was also hamstrung financially as the few airlines operating had hiked fares due to increased demand for air travel.
“Those students cannot pay a ticket on Ethiopian Airlines, the parents cannot also afford to pay for an air ticket. So we have got this situation where we have got a lot of students stranded in China and the plan is that we have got to evacuate them.
“We have tried to say that we buy them air tickets but I understand Ethiopian Airways has just increased its price. The last was going for $5 000 for one and that becomes a challenge,” Moyo said.
Moyo added that government was planning to facilitate a bank loan for the citizens they would repay once back home.
He added that 2 600 nationals who registered to come back home, hundreds were in Botswana, huge numbers in USA, China, India, UK and other parts of Europe.
“Most of these citizens have no paperwork such as permits in those countries and have been left out from the benefits given to others due to lockdown.
“Due to government’s financial constraints, most of those stranded will have to pay for their tickets through a loan from a bank in Zimbabwe payable later.
“If parents cannot afford, they must not push to have their children to go and study abroad. When we have a crisis like this, the problem is now for the Foreign Affairs ministry to deal with.
“I urge all those stranded Zimbabweans to link up with our foreign missions. We do not go around looking for people who want to come back home. We deal with those who show interest to come back.
“They should know that we will quarantine them once they arrive home and we cannot compromise on that.
“We have many students who are on government scholarships who have registered to come back home as well as other citizens who were out on private business but can no longer pay for the tickets,” Moyo added. Nehanda Radio