By Kenneth Matimaire
A least 213 business operators failed to meet Covid-19 licensing guidelines in Zimbabwe’s eastern border town of Mutare but were still allowed to continue with their operations, a situation that exposed their clients to the disease.
Only 324 business operators applied to the local authority for certification, a condition that was imposed by government on companies that wanted to resume operations after lockdowns.
Mutare City Council issued only 111 certificates to operators that met all Covid-19 certification guidelines.
“(A total of) 111 certificates were issued,” said Spren Mutiwi, the local authority’s public relations officer.
“(About) 213 defied (the regulations) and no measures were taken against the latter.”
Mutiwi said council raised $63,547,50 through the licensing exercise and “the revenue was pooled into council funds.”
Council has since increased its health budget by 202% in a bid to cater for the Covid-19 driven expenditure.
The local authority’s health services department said $553,033,961.07 was allocated for health services this year, up from $182,549,488.62 in 2020.
However, council says the budget remained inadequate for the activities that require funding this year.
“The city’s health budget remains inadequate,” said Mutiwi, adding that council required at least $573,574,655.74 to run its health services.
He said while the health services department was allocated $182,549,488.62 last year, actual expenditure stood at $241,476,313.83.
“This was against the $378,385,679.90 required to sufficiently sustain the city health needs in 2020,” Mutiwi said.