By Yamikani Yapuwa
Blantyre, April 29, Mana: President Peter Mutharika has announced the introduction of an Emergency Cash Transfer Program to serve small scale businesses in and around the central markets of Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu, Zomba and others.
Mutharika made the disclosure on Tuesday in his national address, describing the intervention as an extended cash transfer facility to support Malawians who depend on the markets for their survival.
“Government will target a minimum of 172,000 households in these areas, representing an estimated 35 per cent of the urban population.
“Considering family size of around five people based on the 2018 Population and Housing Census, this will translate to just under a million people who will be reached with this measure,” he said.
Mutharika said the program will be implemented for six months which will translate into three months of response and three months of recovery.
“Each identified household will be paid electronically through mobile payments an amount of K35, 000 per month and the amount is based on the prevailing government minimum wage rate.
“I have, therefore, directed the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and Ministry of Population Planning and Social Welfare to devise an implementation plan which will include registration of households in the hotspot areas and its immediate implementation beginning the month of May, 2020,” he added.
Mutharika said government will also provide cash top-up to existing beneficiaries of the Mtukula Pakhomo Programme in all the 28 districts.
“This will strengthen livelihood interventions aimed at minimising negative coping mechanisms for the poor. Details on implementation of these interventions will be announced shortly,” Mutharika said.
The President said once these measures are implemented, government will proceed to restrict movement of people.
“Coming to the issue of the lockdown, this matter is before the courts. On our part, we will proceed to do what is necessary to save lives as circumstances warrant. For me, the right to life is supreme above all other rights.
“Therefore, we will proceed with the following new measures. Once we have implemented these measures, we are proceeding to restrict movement of people,” said Mutharika.