- The overall response to COVID-19 took E898 875 693 in cash while the rest was in kind and the entire amount spent was above E1 billion.
Mbabane: The government of Eswatini through the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) has exhausted an amount of about E1 billion in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
A report that delivered by NDMA’s Chief Executive Officer Russell Dlamini on Tuesday, detailed where the money came from and how it was spent in the fight against COVID-19. Dlamini said part of the money was set aside by the government, while some came as donations from development partners and other institutions including the Kirsh Foundation.
Dlamini said when the COVID-19 pandemic was declared a state of emergency in the country, the overall response took E898 875 693 in cash while the rest was in kind and the entire amount spent was above E1 billion. Dlamini said, however, this amount has included the money used in the other disaster responses like the Cyclone Eloise.
It is worth noting that over E200 million of that money came as a donation from the Kirsh Foundation. E45 million of that amount was used on the relief fund which saw some of Emaswati getting E750 as a relief fund.
Dlamini said other donations made by the Kirsh foundation came in a form of PPEs and other materials used in the fight against COVID-19. Dlamini some of the money donated by the Foundation could not be accountable to NDMA as it was donated straight to the Ministry of Health.
Recently the Minister of Health Lizzie Nkosi revealed that another E200 million donated by Kirsh Foundation has been set aside to procure the Moderna vaccines expected to hit the soil of this land in the 3rd and 4th Quarter of the year.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the demand for clean water increased as people had to wash hands more frequently hence the agency provided clean water to schools, clinics and the communities all over the country. Dlamini said the Agency had provided over 20 million litres of water to the schools, clinics and communities.
Dlamini said the agency also provided masks, sanitizers water tanks to the people during the COVID-19 era.
The CEO said apart from the COVID-19 disaster, the country also faced Cyclone Eloise which also needed the agency’s response. Dlamini said the cyclone damaged roads and houses hence the management did an assessment to those damages and have already started to work around fixing those roads and rebuilding the houses that were wrecked by the cyclone.
Dlamini said the government set aside an amount of E40 million to mitigate on the damages caused by the cyclone. E15 million of that E40 million was set aside to be used in rebuilding and refurbishing the houses that were damaged by the cyclone. He said an assessment by the agency found that 200 houses needed to be rebuilt or refurbished and 55 of those houses have already been built and the agency is continuing with the project.
Dlamini said the remaining E25 million was then set to be used when fixing the damaged roads of which 1 287 kilometres have already been fixed. He said the Agency was not necessarily the one fixing the roads but it was the Minister of Public Works and Transport, so NDMA was responsible for fixing the machineries that is used when fixing the roads and also buying the material used when fixing the roads and bridges.
Dlamini also revealed that above the E40 million set aside after the cyclone, E2 million has been added of which E1.5 million came from the development partners which include United Nations Development Program (UNDP). He said the money will be used to continue fixing the roads and rebuilding those damaged houses.
The CEO also highlighted that the Government also provided E25 million to create a Relief Fund in order to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on laid off and unpaid workers in the country. The amount was given to the NDMA to do process through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.
Dlamini said 24 645 people have been paid hence E21 million has been spent in the process.
According to the ministry of labour, each qualifying employees got E400 from that E25 million.
The Disaster Management Agency has spent over half a million on testing hawkers as it was announced that the government provided a E650 subsidy on COVID-19 tests for informal cross border traders.
Since COVID-19 test was costing E850, this meant cross-border traders paid a minimal fee of E200 for the testing. Hence the overall amount spent by the government through NDMA to assist the informal traders was E533 000.
NDMA CEO went on to reveal that the government has spent E53 million on quarantining people during the first and the second wave of the COVID-19. A number of people were quarantined at Mavuso Sports Centre, Piggs’Peak hotel, Bethel Court to name a few.
The Agency also spent E11 million on fuelling cars used by the health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and those health workers includes the doctors, nurses who had to travel from one place to another while doing their work.
E24 million has been spent in the construction of the new maternal wing at the Lubombo Referral Hospital.
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