‘Govt must account for resources donated to fight coronavirus’

The government should be transparent and properly account for resources extended to the country by local and international partners in the fight against Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19), a civic society organisation has said.

Zimbabwe recorded two confirmed cases of Covid-19, which was first detected in China late last year and has spread to over 160 countries worldwide.

The Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) in a press statement recommended the government should publicly disclose all the funds it receives to fight the pandemic.  

“In the face of a looming life-threatening coronavirus, transparency and accountability forms the basis upon which this “war” can be won,” the organisation said.

“This involves public disclosure of the ultimate sources of revenue which include tax and non-tax revenue and funds from local, bilateral, international and multilateral partners, allocations and expenditures to allow for checks and balances on a weekly basis.”

ZIMCODD advised the government to come up with strong anti-corruption interventions that will eliminate the abuse of public resources meant to strengthen the country`s health system.

“Strengthen oversight and anti-corruption agencies to mitigate against the abuse of public resources meant for fighting coronavirus including but not limited to the Parliament of Zimbabwe, Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ), Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and the Competition Tariff Commission,” the statement read.

“The setting up of the National Communications Task Force is a welcome development that should also be expedited to ensure the dissemination of real-time, accurate and reliable information on the state of coronavirus at national level through various communication channels. This will go a long way in allaying fears of the impending peril and building public confidence on the readiness of the government to deal with the crisis,”.

The organisation also pleaded for negotiation forums between employers and employees to be activated to safeguard the health of workers.  

“This is high time the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) is energised to consider the implications of the pandemic on labour amid fears that the virus spreads faster in public places, workplaces included. Given that the majority of workers have no provision to work remotely, their right to health is threatened. As a matter of urgency, the TNF must expeditiously put in place a framework that ensures the protection of the workers’ right to health in the face of the pandemic.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) as of 22 March 2020, there were 294 110 confirmed Coronavirus cases in 187 countries and territories with 12 944 deaths confirmed deaths.

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