Economic expert advise government to bail out SMEs amid COVID-19

An economic expert has urged government of Malawi to Use funds from donors for COVID-19 response and preparedness to ease economic challenges for Small and Medium Enterprises.

The Polytechnic Economic Lecturer Dr Betchani Tchereni said this following the World Bank pledged $7 million in immediate funding to support Malawi’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

According to press release helpline.com has seen, Greg Toulmin, World Bank Country Manager for Malawi says this is  a new Malawi COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness project that will help the country fight the pandemic.

Small business in MalawiReacting to this development, Dr Betchani said government must wisely use the funds to bail out Malawans from economic challenges through social cash transfers and loans to small and medium enterprises.

“We have seen vendors protesting against the lockdown. This is a sign that lockdown can end their business and government must do something for these people to survive”, Dr Betchani said.

He added that the these funds have come timely as governments will be able to buy essential COVID-19 testing kits.

Dr Betchani also said government must be accountable on how it has used the funds and urged stakeholders  to enforce public expenditure accountability.

Announcing the please on 15 April 2020, the World Bank county manager said  the new operation, $30 million which  has been made available from the Disaster Risk Management Development Policy Financing with a Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Option (Cat-DDO) to strengthen the country’s response to the pandemic.

“The Malawi COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness project will provide funding towards detection, surveillance, response and system strengthening activities prioritized in the Malawi COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan”, .says Greg Toulmin, World Bank Country Manager for Malawi.

Toulmin further said  the Plan is also financed  by several Development Partners such as  the Disaster Risk Management Development Policy Financing with a Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Option (Cat-DDO) which will support a broad range of economic policy initiatives and smooth out the macro-economic shocks that COVID19 is expected to impose on the Governmet’s finances.

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