The government of Zimbabwe has reportedly set aside USD 1.1 billion while considering the safety of the most vulnerable citizens during the period of emergency.
A minimum amount of USD 15 million has been reserved with an objective to support the mass urban transportation programme every month, while the millions, according to the official announcement, are channelled towards health, education and food. This was revealed by Mthuli Ncube, the Vice president of the African Development Bank and the Minister of Finance in Zimbabwe.
According to the 56-year old Mthuli Ncube, the government of Zimbabwe is currently working on the extension of subsidized mass transportation programme to rural areas to cushion villagers from extortionate fares being charged by unscrupulous private operators, as reported by Ghana MMA.
The mass public transport system that has observed commissioning of 86 buses so far is being spearheaded by ZUPCO. President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa took to social media on July 31 to announce the commissioning of 47 new ZUPCO buses with an objective to mitigate the transport challenges felt by the commuters in the country. The buses will also provide facilities like Wi-Fi, USB connect and Real Time.
In terms of ZUPCO-led mass transportation system, Ncube opined that the Zimbabwean government is determined to ensure that the vulnerable are able to travel. "Again there is the ZUPCO programme in terms of mass urban transportation, the subsidy for that is costing us USD 15 million a month, but we are committed to that; we are committed to do that. We want to subsidise transport so that the vulnerable can travel. Of course we now need to figure out how we expand it into the rural areas as well," he said.
"On social services, service delivery and social protection, again, we have set aside USD 1,1 billion. This is key and our social protection programme is very complex. It ranges from the BEAM (Basic Education Assistance Model) programme in the education sector to support the poor and vulnerable in terms of sending children to school, medical services for the vulnerable, investing in infrastructure in the health sector," the Minister added.
While talking about the extension of the programme to other areas as early as possible, the Minister said, "It (social protection) involves also giving out food in rural areas; we have got a machinery there. We know it works, but this year, we started doing it in the urban areas focusing on Harare and Bulawayo."
On the other hand, the programme by the government of Zimbabwe also targets the fleet to increase up to around 3,000 new buses. So far, it has been revealed that 1,000 buses would come from China, 500 from Belarus and 200 from South Africa.