Mbabane: Despite causing confusion on distribution, the government food assistance program has proved to be a success as it has reached over 330 826 people a number more than the 301 762 that was announced earlier.
This was announced by the Honorable Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini in a press conference held at the cabinet offices on Friday.
Notably the number of beneficiaries show an increase of about 29 064 people who benefited from the initial 301 762 people, which was announced by the prime minister on April 22, 2020.
Eswatini has been in partial lockdown since 27 March with only essential businesses allowed to operate, travel severely restricted and people banned from meeting in groups of more than 20.
Almost as soon as the lockdown started reports circulated of people unable to feed themselves because they no longer had incomes. However, currently government is continuing to easing lockdown by opening business to allow the economy to open.
Dlamini noted that the success of the programme was a result of assistance from the Kirsh Foundation, development partners and many local companies which donated food commodities to the NDMA.
He said Government will continue rolling out the food assistance programme to the most vulnerable members of our society even during this month of July.
The Prime Minister also announced that the first batch of payments of the Layoff Relief Fund were made on July 10, 2020, where a total of 1949 employees were paid. He said subsequent payments will be made every Friday until the current figure of laid off employees is exhausted. He encouraged all employers who laid off their employees without pay due to COVID 19 to file claims without delay.
Dlamini further announced that government has also rehabilitated 50 boreholes in communities across the country where people did not have access to clean water. This is an ongoing yet important exercise which aims to ensure that Emaswati do not only have access to safe drinking water but access potable water to use for hand washing and adhering to proper hygiene protocols.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the Kingdom, His Majesty the King, companies and various organisations as well as individuals have donated food parcels and cash donations to assist in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.