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‘Create independent COVID-19 fund’

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BY STAFF REPORTER

GOVERNMENT should create an independent COVID-19 fund to cater for the pandemic expenditures, former State Enterprises and Parastatals minister Gorden Moyo has said.

Speaking during a virtual Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development public finance management reform indaba on transparency and accountability over COVID-19 resources, Moyo said the fund should not be housed in the President’s Office.

“There was a need from the very beginning for government to set up an independent emergency fund which is not necessarily housed in the President’s Office, but with an independent board looking at that fund so that it will determine the criteria, distribution and allocation in a fair manner,” he said.

“That was important. I think that was not done and it is not too late to do it because COVID-19 may be with us for the next few years. So an independent COVID-19 fund which was going to ring-fence the resources earmarked for COVID-19 expenditures only and to avoid mixing the resources with other government activities is equally important.”

Moyo said the fund, which countries such as Ghana have created, would create trust and confidence “because people have no confidence in the country’s institutions due to corrupt activities”. He also said there was need for financial reporting on COVID-19 expenditures to eliminate corruption and looting of public resources.

“When government says it is giving out $3,5 billion, there must be financial reporting to Parliament and to Zimbabweans. The Public Accounts Committee should call upon ministers to make sure that they account and do financial reporting on a regular basis,” he said.

He said there was need for moral leadership at government level as without it “everything that we are saying will not necessarily see the light of the day.”

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