Mass vaccination, an economic recovery strategy: Finance Minister

Zimbabwe’s ongoing Covid-19 mass vaccination is not just a health intervention but an economic recovery strategy, Finance and Economic Development Minister, Mthuli Ncube, has said.

The country is currently on a mass vaccination programme, which began early this year with over 2.9 million Zimbabweans having since received their first jabs while more than 2.1 million are now fully vaccinated.

“This is an economic recovery strategy and not just a health strategy for saving lives,” Ncube told delegates at the Zimbabwe International Business Conference in Bulawayo Wednesday.

He said with more people being vaccinated, it is believed the economy will be fully opened as the Covid-19 recovery rate improves and the mortality rate falls, adding the country would continue to procure Covid-19 vaccines.

“We also got 15 million syringes so far and we will make sure that we also get 20 million syringes in the next few months,” said Ncube.

“We are doing a lot more for the economy again and in terms of Covid support, we are paying an allowance, we’ve been constructing quarantine centres, investing in logistics for moving the vaccines, PPE kits around and so forth.”

The Finance Minister noted the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic had aggravated economic challenges in Zimbabwe.

 “The pandemic has claimed lives, it has also affected our economy but we are holding strong, the economy is recovering mainly led by the agricultural sector, other sectors also following on such as mining and there is recovering in the manufacturing sector,” said Ncube.

“The vaccination programme is an economic recovery strategy. Without vaccinating all of us, how do you open the economy safely?”

He said Covid-19 had affected various sectors of the economy differently.

Those that were moderately affected, Ncube said, include the transport, distribution and financial services.

“The tourism sector clearly is severely affected; there has been an 80 percent drop in international passenger traffic across the world and 60 percent drop at least in the domestic tourism industry and a serious drop in aviation services and 90 percent drop in hotel occupancies,” he said.

“The foodstuffs manufacturing sector was also affected but not really so and the mining sector was also moderately affected by the pandemic and we expect a rebound and resilience in this sector.”

The government has, despite the pandemic projected a 7.8 percent economic growth this year buoyed by a34 percent growth in agriculture, energy (14 percent), manufacturing (7 percent) and mining (5 percent).

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