ZANU PF youth from Bulawayo have complained over the “turning of COVID-19 relief funds into loans” with stringent conditions to access the funding.
BY PRAISEMORE SITHOLE
The government recently set up a $17 million COVID-19 relief fund for youths to cushion those affected by the coronavirus lockdown. Youths deputy minister Tinomuda Machakaire recently said the fund was being distributed equally across all provinces.
Bulawayo’s Mqamulazwe district youth league vice-chairman Ryan Mpofu said the conditions set for one to access the relief funds proved that it was a loan.
“Being Zanu PF does not mean I have to agree with something that is wrong,” Mpofu said.
“One should have a conscience and do the right thing. We should not agree for the people who are doing it but do things in a proper way.”
Mpofu added: “The relief fund is for youths and is non-partisan. But what is happening is that there are stringent conditions that have been put for one to access the funds.”
Some of the requirements are production of sales records, receipts from suppliers, and EcoCash statements, while the majority of informal traders do not have such documentation.
“This has happened before when people were promised projects and money but the question is how many people got the projects. Now they are wasting the little resources we have in travelling and printing and at the end of the day, we receive nothing,” Mpofu said.
“Who keeps a sales record while operating an informal business? There is absolutely no reason to have these records when operating an informal business, why are they asking for it? Even an EcoCash statement? Mostly, when we sell, we want cash, so why an EcoCash statement?”
Mqamulazwe district youth league secretary for administration Lesly Mafu added: “This relief fund is for every young person who is failing to make ends meet during the COVID-19 period.
A lot of businesses are closed and the youth usually do informal trading and their businesses are small and not recognised, but that is how they earn a living,” Mafu said.
“It is becoming very difficult for the youths, hence the relief fund so that they have something to put on the table. It’s a fund, not a loan. There is no need for so-called business documents.”
Mafu said cross-broader traders should not be asked to produce a bank statement.
“It doesn’t make sense. This defeats the purpose of the fund,” Mafu said.