Zimbabwe president Emerson Mnangagwa has allocated an initial US$20 Million (ZW$ 500 million) stimulus package to for the tourism sector which is one of the hardest hit sectors.
The package is to mitigate the impacts of the novel coronavirus on the industry and help it resuscitate it.
The amount which was part of ZW$18 billion Economic Rescue and Stimulus Package was 9% of the country’s gross domestic product, or 28.6% of the 2020 National Budget.
President Mnangagwa on Friday, 1 May, 2020, further extended the lockdown by another two weeks, but allowed formal businesses to reopen under strict conditions.
Reacting to the announcement, the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Nqobizitha Ndlovu said: ”As central government, we acknowledge the challenges being experienced by tourism businesses during this time, hence the need to support the industry and communities to cope with the negative effects of this pandemic.
”The tourism industry is one of the most affected industries and going forward, we believe most businesses will become survivalists in nature, with limited access to funding from commercial institutions.”
Ndlovu concluded: ”We hope the support offered through this Tourism Relief Fund will assure the continued survival of business beyond the COVID–19 pandemic. We’re very grateful to the President and Cabinet for recognising tourism as a critical sector in the economy of this country.”
The US$ 20 million is an initial package to the tourism industry while the government is committed to further supporting the sector in attempt to save jobs and mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.
Modalities to access the funds are yet to be released by the Government.
The tourism sector is crucial to the economic stability of Zimbabwe and contributes about 6% to GDP.
Latest statistics on Covid-19 show that Zimbabwe now has 40 confirmed positive cases, including five recoveries and four deaths while a total of 7,642 screening and diagnostic tests have since been done.