Business Briefs

Finance minister brushes aside poverty reports

FINANCE minister Mthuli Ncube has dismissed reports of high poverty levels in the country arguing that the cushion extended by government to vulnerable groups had made “instant impact” and thus eliminated poverty.

The Finance minister made the remarks on Monday while responding to a World Bank report which revealed that one million locals had become poorer in 2019.

Ncube said transfers of $300 (US$3,68) and other non-government transfers had made an instant impact.

“Cash transfers have an instant impact, it’s very clear. Whether it’s $300 or something more, we are not the only one giving cash transfers which are enshrined in the TSP (Transitional Stabilisation Programme). It’s those organisations which you have mentioned World Bank, WFP, who also manage to source additional transfers from other organisations including the bilateral partners so those have an instant, positive impact in dealing with extreme poverty so it is being felt already,” Ncube said.

“In fact, those numbers (which) say a million more people are poorer now were just to show you — the argument or rational — why we ought to be paying cash transfers in the first place. But, having paid those cash transfers, those people are no longer extremely poor, they are not, they are better so that is instant impact. What is also instant impact is our food mitigation programme when we talk about the extreme poor here.

“When you are given your mealie meal you are no longer extremely poor in that moment, you can feed yourself and so forth and we are determined to make sure that our citizens receive these kinds of subsidies.”

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