President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday said the 2020 national budget will be revised to ensure it prioritises fiscal buffers in the wake of the coronavirus threat.
Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube announced a ZWL$63.6bn budget for 2020. President Mnangagwa,however, said government has found itself between a rock and a hard place and will adjust the 2020 budget amid coronavirus threat.
Zimbabwe has todate recorded nine cases and one fatality.
In his address to the nation at the State house, President Mnangagwa said:”The COVID-19 pandemic is nowhere close to loosening it’s grip on humanity.
“…The 2020 budget will be revised and reprioritised to ensure adequate fiscal buffers in the wake of the ravaging threat.
We cannot afford to be deceived by the small numbers of infections (in Zimbabwe) but we must continue to scale up our preparations.
We are not out of the woods. The galloping (global) figures may mean that the risk to our nation is rising and growing enormous by the day,” he added.
The virus has according to the US based John Hopkins University claimed over 55,000 lives across the globe with Italy being the most affected.
Zimbabwe is currently under a 21-day nationwide lock down, which took effect on Monday.
This could be devastating because Zimbabwe is highly informalised with many having turned to vending to eke out a living.
This means thousands of families and individuals are likely to experience severe challenges in the weeks and months ahead.
But, Mnangagwa said safety nets will be put in place.
“Equally,we are aware that the lock down comes at a great cost to livelihoods of our highly informalised economy.
We have therefore, committed to provide social safety nets to ensure that vulnerable households are sustained during this challenging period,” Mnangagwa said.
Government has also set up a coronavirus also known as COVID-19 disaster fund, to mitigate the immediate to long-term effects of the pandemic.