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Zimbabwe approves $720M palliative support for distressed businesses, extends lockdown

By News Desk

The Zimbabwean President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has approved 720 million dollars as palliative  to support distressed companies, most of which wwould be allowed to reopen by Monday, after the country  government announced nationwide lockdown extension aimed at fighting coronavirus.

He said that the lockdown might be extended for another two weeks or more to study the cases of pandemic and that the stimulus would go a long way to keep business back in shape post coronavirus.

Speaking during televised interview on Saturday in the country, Mnangagwa Mnangagwa maintained that public gatherings of more than 50 people and the use of public taxis should remain suspended, while schools would also be under lock.

Meanwhile, the southern African nation first announced a three-week lockdown in March and then extended that, prior to the latest extension. The lockdown has shuttered an economy struggling with acute shortages of foreign currency, food, electricity, and medicines.

Informal markets – where more than 80 percent of Zimbabweans earn their living – will remain shut, while big businesses will reopen under supervision.

 

The president the $720 million said to be more than quarter of 2020 budget would benefit smaller businesses that were hit by the lockdown, though refused to indicate how the package would be funded.

“The package is proportionate to the disruption the virus has caused to the national economy. Health workers would not be taxed for the next six months to boost their earnings, the president said.

Zimbabwe has recorded 40 cases of the new coronavirus and four deaths so far.

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