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Zimbabwe waives duty on Covid-19 material

by Staff reporter
01 Apr 2020 at 07:22hrs | Views
Duty on imported drugs and other materials used in the Covid-19 response has been waived, with Government expressing satisfaction with mitigation measures put in place by the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce set to deal with the spread of the pandemic.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa told journalists during a post-Cabinet briefing in Harare yesterday that the suspension of duty was part of the action plan approved by Cabinet.

The action plan was presented by Vice President Kembo Mohadi in his capacity as the chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on Covid-19 response. VP Mohadi Among other measures, Minister Mutsvangwa said Cabinet approved suspension of the issuance of birth certificates, national registration identity documents and travel documents by the Registrar General, with the exception of burial orders and death certificates.

"Cabinet considered and approved the action plan as presented by Honourable Vice President Kembo Mohadi, as chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on Covid-19," said Minister Mutsvangwa.

"Key among the proposed actions were that duty for the importation of materials required in the manufacture of drugs and other materials used in the Covid-19 response be suspended.

"That registration of vulnerable communities by the Department of Social Welfare be stepped up in order ensure that all the households affected by the lockdown are catered for through the usual social protection mechanisms availed by Government (and) that the cash transfer be targeted at those people that have lost their resources or livelihoods due to the measures put in place to combat the spread of Covid-19, including those in the informal sector," she said.

Minister Mutsvangwa said it was agreed that hand sanitisers and face masks be produced locally by institutions of higher learning and pharmaceutical companies.

Minister Murwira To this end, Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira said the institutions were producing 15 000 face masks per day that would be handed over to the Ministry of Health and Child Care. He said $33 million was released to universities, part of which was being used to produce sanitisers and face masks.
Minister Mutsvangwa said Cabinet approved that Covid-19 treatment and isolation centres be mapped at five central hospitals, 10 provincial hospitals and 52 district hospitals under the supervision of the Ministries of Health and Child Care, and Local Government and Public Works. With regards to control of Covid-19 among Government workers coming to work, Minister Mutsvangwa said it was agreed that the Public Service Commission tracks the transportation of the civil servants to and from work to ensure that buses were fumigated, with passengers being sanitised as they entered the buses.

Zupco buses, she added, would be deployed to all towns and cities to ferry people providing essential services. Minister Mutsvangwa said it was further agreed that local authorities improve the provision of water to communities through decongesting the already available water points and availing additional water points, particularly in the medium and high density areas.

"The banking account details that will be used for receipt of donations towards Covid-19 will be acknowledged and publicised and that there will be a central receiving point for donations," she said.

Going forward, Minister Mutsvangwa said the taskforce would brief the nation on a weekly basis, while the Ministers of Health and Child Care and Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services would provide updates more regularly as Government moved to operationalise the approved action plan.

Source - the herald