HPTO NetOne

Spare a thought for the poor

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THE imposition of a lockdown in March last year to curb and mitigate the spread of coronavirus has had a negative impact on the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans.
The majority of citizens are battling to eke out a living under the lockdown and harsh economic realities. In fact, life is getting worse for ordinary citizens who have become poorer despite the economy having shown signs of a rebound in the last six months, buoyed by the introduction of the foreign currency auction system and other monetary and fiscal policy interventions.

The situation has been worsened by the government’s failure to come up with social safety nets to cushion the poor. We have seen several countries coming up with rescue packages and grants to assist the vulnerable. Concerted efforts must also be made in Zimbabwe to provide for the poor during the lockdown.

It’s common cause why citizens are defying Covid-19 preventive measures — it’s about survival. This is coming at a time when most Zimbabweans are living on less than US$2 daily. And to make matters worse, we have witnessed an increase in prices of basic goods as a result of the impact of the killer Covid-19 pandemic.

There has been disruption in the movement of imported goods and raw materials from abroad, especially from South Africa.

In addition, prices of fuel — a major cost drive in production of goods, also went up. The paradox for the ordinary man has been the talk about the economy growing yet there is nothing to show for it in real terms. For the ordinary man, economic growth without jobs and food on the table is meaningless.

It is, therefore, time for the government to have a relook at its policies to ensure the country registers “inclusive” growth that benefits everybody. With unemployment estimated at over 80 percent there is, therefore, a need for the government to come up with interventions that cushion the vulnerable members of our society before the situation deteriorates further, especially under the punishing lockdown.

No doubt if this continues unchecked it might give rise to social ills like robbery and other vices as people try to eke out a living. The level of unemployment and youths roaming around the streets is a recipe for disaster. It’s time to take action.

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