TREASURY has so far disbursed US$93,2 million to procure vaccines to combat the spread of the catastrophic Covid-19 pandemic which has claimed millions of lives across the globe and sharply slowed worldwide economic growth.
At least US$100 million has been set aside to roll out the vaccination programme. An estimated 1,5 million people across the country have been inoculated with the first shot of the vaccine while 713 000 have received the double mandatory shots.
Presenting the mid-term budget and economic review statement yesterday, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube emphasised that spearheading the ongoing vaccination programme remained “unavoidable” as Zimbabwe moves closer to achieving herd immunity — a milestone that is expected to curtail the spread of the deadly disease.
A day earlier before Ncube presented his budget review statement, Zimbabwe recorded a wave of 60 new deaths with the cumulative fatalities surging to 3 340.
Zimbabwe has steadily been driving its vaccination programme, largely through vaccines sourced from China, Russia and India, amid spiking cases of the Delta variant strain of the deadly disease.
“In view of the persistent Covid-19 pandemic, intensive vaccination remains unavoidable and a long-term solution to save lives and livelihoods utilising the saving from last year.
“To date, resources amounting to US$93 million have been spent on vaccines alone. Government has set aside US$100 million for vaccine acquisition,” Ncube said.
The minister projected gross domestic product to grow by 7,8% in 2021. This was an upward review from the 7,4% that he projected for 2021 when he announced the budget in november 2020.
Global GDP, Ncube said, would also grow by 6%, buoyed by massive vaccinations initiatives undertaken by various countries across the world.
“The global economy is now projected to grow by 6% in 2021, an upward review from an initial forecast of 0,5%.
“Projected higher growth is on account of additional fiscal support…and the ongoing vaccination process by major economies which have the potential to reduce the severity and frequency of infections under the Covid-19 pandemic,” Ncube said.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected a 6% growth, while the World Bank (WB) forecast the Zimbabwe economy to grow by 3,9% in 2021 during a year which has seen Zimbabwe going through varied spells of prolonged lockdowns to contain Covid-19.
Ncube said the ongoing vaccination would help reinvigorate the fragile economy.
He said: “The Covid-19 response measures, coupled with the vaccination exercise currently underway globally and domestically continue to give hope to the sustained economic recovery.
“The fiscal measures implemented to date have engendered stability.”
Building resilience, Ncube highlighted, would add impetus towards efforts of setting Zimbabwe’s floundering economy on a firm recovery trajectory in the midst of the global pandemic.
The Treasury boss projected the economy to grow by 5,4%, spurred by agriculture and firming commodity prices on the international markets but cautioned that the devastating effects of Covid-19 would continue to pose a serious risk.