The Leader of Opposition Matthew Wale calls on the government to take a broad approach in its deliberations today on the proposed stimulus package.
This call came after the announcement that Cabinet is going to meet today to discuss the stimulus package proposed to help keep the local economy afloat in these trying times, a statement from the Opposition Office said.
The stimulus package is comprised of funds both from donors and some domestic institutions.
Mr. Wale said stimulus packages are by and large intended to cushion the economy in hard times and so allocation will largely be business-based and this is needed.
He, however, points out that in the local context, the current health pandemic also continues to affect the majority of the local people who are heavily dependent on the informal sector for their daily needs.
“I am concerned for a lot of parents in the country who depend on the informal sector for income to enable them to pay their children’s school fees and other important personal commitments.
“With the current emergency measures preventing informal business activities, parents who largely depend on the informal sector for income were and will continue to be hard hit.
“This worry will now be real with the recent announcement of the resumption of some schools in the country.
“I, therefore, call on the government to take a broader approach in its assessment of the beneficiaries under this stimulus package.
“Special consideration must be given to the situation faced by all parents across the country with respect to any school fee needs they may be faced within the short term.
“The government must consider liaise with the responsible ministry with the view to foregoing all schools for 2020.
“While such a gesture may not directly trigger ongoing economic activities, it is a noble thing for the government to do for our people in these trying times,” Mr. Wale added.
He further added that in terms of the business component, it is also common knowledge that emergency funds have been mismanaged in this country in the past.
With donors providing assistance, it is important that the funds are used for the purposes intended.
“I, therefore, encourage donors and the government alike to be transparent in the manner in which they implement the package.
“I also call on the government to be fair and to ensure that consideration is given to affected businesses that are keen on making sure that their employees are not laid off and operations continued in full swing.
“These are the practical steps that can enable the economy to continue to function,” the Opposition Leader stressed.