80 per­cent of pop­u­la­tion debt-rid­den, sur­vey re­veals

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Pamela Shumba/ Nqo­bile Tshili

NEW data from the Zim­babwe Vul­ner­a­bil­ity As­sess­ment Com­mit­tee (Zim­vac) 2016 Ru­ral Liveli­hoods As­sess­ment sur­vey shows that 81 per­cent of Zim­bab­weans are chok­ing un­der debts.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­cent study, some peo­ple are even sell­ing prop­erty to buy food due to eco­nomic chal­lenges.

Oth­ers were said to be sell­ing more live­stock than usual or spend­ing sav­ings on food.

Poor crop pro­duc­tion was cited as one of the ma­jor rea­sons lead­ing to the pub­lic seek­ing loans.

“There is no sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence in the pro­por­tions of house­holds hav­ing loans/debts in 2016, 81 per­cent com­pared to 2015, 79 per­cent. A higher pro­por­tion of male headed house­holds (21 per­cent) had loans debts while 16, 1 per­cent fe­male headed house­holds had loans/debts at the time of con­duct­ing the sur­vey,” reads the re­port.

ZIM­VAC said 61 per­cent of debtors de­pended on fam­ily and friends as sources for loans.

“The high­est pro­por­tion of house­holds across all prov­inces were bor­row­ing to buy food. Mata­bele­land South (54 per­cent) and Mata­bele­land North (52 per­cent) and Masvingo (50 per­cent) had the high­est pro­por­tions of house­holds bor­row­ing to pur­chase food.

“The sec­ond most com­mon rea­son for bor­row­ing was to pay for ed­u­ca­tion costs (Man­i­ca­land, Mata­bele­land North and South, Mid­lands and Masvingo),” reads the re­port.

The data comes at a time when the Govern­ment has said it is in the process of up­dat­ing food mit­i­ga­tion reg­is­ters in all the prov­inces as four mil­lion peo­ple now re­quire food as­sis­tance in the coun­try.

The Min­is­ter of Pub­lic Ser­vice, Labour and So­cial Wel­fare Prisca Mup­fu­mira said her Min­istry was work­ing with provin­cial ad­min­is­tra­tors and so­cial wel­fare of­fi­cials to up­date their reg­is­ters to make sure that all de­serv­ing peo­ple ben­e­fit from food aid.

She said they re­cently held meet­ings with all Provin­cial Ad­min­is­tra­tors, Provin­cial wel­fare of­fi­cers and Provin­cial Min­is­ters and di­rected them to go out to their con­stituen­cies to make sure that more peo­ple have been added to the food mit­i­ga­tion reg­is­ters.

“The reg­is­ters should in­clude the el­derly, or­phans, peo­ple liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties and the chron­i­cally ill.

“These are the vul­ner­a­ble groups but we have since re­alised that be­cause of the drought sit­u­a­tion which we are in, there are more peo­ple who are not nor­mally vul­ner­a­ble who are in need of food as­sis­tance,” said Min­is­ter Mup­fu­mira in Par­lia­ment last week.

“I’m sure you’re all aware that we’ve ad­e­quate stocks. As of last week, we had about 320 000 tonnes of maize avail­able and we have also re­ceived 19 000 tonnes of rice which is go­ing to be in­cor­po­rated into the food mit­i­ga­tion pro­gramme.” -@ pame­lashumba1— @nqot­shili.

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