Government mum on $600m Covid Fund

Morris Bishi
Masvingo – A senior Government official in Masvingo has kept on ducking questions on how his department is going to distribute the $600 million which will be disbursed to the vulnerable groups during 21-day Covid-19 lockdown.Many people expressed the fear that the fund would be abused or it would be used for political reasons.A survey by The Mirror showed that there is a dearth of information among Masvingo residents on where applications for funding are done, the time frame for applications and who is legible.Joseph Mupinga, the Provincial Development Officer in the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development said he had no information regarding the Fund although all the province’s seven districts are gathering lists of applicants and submitting them to his office.He then said he was gathering the information and will give it to The Mirror the next day. When The Mirror approached him as per his undertaking, he asked The Mirror to call the next day.“I don’t want to discuss things that are not there. Give me until tomorrow and I will give you everything you require,” said Mupinga.The Mirror through investigations however, gathered that for Masvingo District, the applications were being done through a personal Whatsapp number for one John Masvinu who is an officer at the ministry`s district office.The Mirror also gathered that there maybe 20 000 people who have applied under the fund. The people who were applying for the funds were being asked to submit their identity numbers, the economic sector that they are in and addresses.The Mirror contacted Masvinu for details and he said although the deadline for applications had closed on Sunday April 5 2020, new applications were still being accepted.However, several applicants who spoke to The Mirror complained that there was no transparency in the way the business to do with the Fund was being run.“They are not giving information at all. It is a closed fund and one very certain thing is that this Fund is going to be looted,” said an applicant who asked for anonymity.

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