BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
LABOUR and Social Welfare minister Paul Mavima was on Wednesday grilled by MPs over allegations that vulnerable people were being ordered to pay transport costs for their donated food.
MPs said it was improper to charge food-insecure people fees to transport food aid.
Shurugwi North MP Ronald Nyathi (Zanu PF) said Mavima should explain to the House government policy on ensuring that there is provision of transport to ferry food aid and inputs to the vulnerable and food-insecure population.
In his response, Mavima said it was wrong to charge transport fees for the food aid, adding that his ministry would investigate the issue.
“In December 2019, Cabinet made a resolution that all food handouts to the vulnerable in this country would reach the recipients free of charge. They are not supposed to be responsible for paying the transportation fees, and that decision has stood since then,” he said.
“If there are any vulnerable people being made to pay transport fees that is wrong; that is not proper. They should just let us know and we will investigate the matter. They are not supposed to pay at all. Government is paying for the transportation of all social welfare food handouts,” he said.
Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya (MDC Alliance) asked for clarity on the issue, saying that local authorities were also charging the vulnerable transport fees for food aid.
Mavima said councillors demanding transport fees for food aid were doing it illegally and should be reported to the relevant authorities.
Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda said as representatives of the people, MPs should bring concrete evidence to expose those charging transport fees to the vulnerable.
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