By Karen Nyeraurombo
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Paul Mavima has admitted that the government is underpaying vulnerable families in terms of social grants.
The payments are too little that they cannot buy everyday basic commodities such as meal- meal, sugar, and cooking oil.
Giving oral evidence in Parliament recently, Minister Mavima said families are getting about ZW$1500 per month.
“One of the things we see contributing to households or families going into the streets despite government assistance is the level of assistance that we are giving to them.
“At the moment we are at ZW$1500 as cash transfer per household and this is an amount that can maybe buy 10kgs bags of mealie meal and after that maybe vegetables.
“It can never be enough to ensure that a vulnerable family can survive on a month-to-month basis with this amount. We also sometimes get late releases of the amount, and we can go for months without the release and if we don’t have the release, it also means we cannot support those households.
“But the policy is once we have the release we then have to back pay and cover the months that we have not been covered. We need more resources; we need better co-ordination among government agencies and departments so that we can deal with this.
“I think that as our economy begins to pick, we will have less and less of these issues. We have a policy that has just been launched, it is going in tandem with the changes that we are doing to the Disability Act, it is still a bill we are doing the amendments, but we have launched the policy.
‘’We are now in the process of coming up with the implementation plan for it and we should be definitely looking at those with disabilities that we find begging on the streets.
“Obviously, there is going to be a need for a very comprehensive approach which says whatever we are giving to these vulnerable people has to be enough to sustain them.”
Govt admits to underpaying vulnerable families