Wednesday 2020-05-27

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FULL STORY

‘WE ONLY HAVE E85M IN CASH’

By Sifiso Dlamini | 2020-05-10

A little over E85 million in cash has been made available to the National Disaster Management Agency’s (NDMA) disposal since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the pandemic hit the country, government, developmental partners as well as companies and individuals have contributed towards the response against the spread of the virus. Part of the donations have been in kind as well as cash and have been overseen by the agency which has been working with the health sector as well as other stakeholders in the fight against the spread of the virus.

NDMA CEO Russell Dlamini  said since the advent of the pandemic, the total amount in cash that has been made available to the agency’s disposal from government amounts to a little over E85 million. He added that a further E100 500 was donated by a company directly into the agency’s account.

The total figure at the agency’s disposal is E85 100 500. “These are the only funds that have been at our disposal since the beginning of the pandemic in the country,” stated Dlamini in his offices on Friday.

He said with regards to donations in kind from development partners, the items bought and delivered at the agency’s warehouse, amounted to E234 528.

He mentioned that about 50 per cent of the E85.1 million has been spent by the agency as well as committed to the fight against the pandemic on behalf of the ministry of health and the other 50 per cent of the funds have been allocated towards procurement of equipment required in response to the fast spreading virus.

He said the funds have either been spent, allocated and committed towards the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE), water tanks distributed in strategic points around the country, drugs as well the payment of quarantine sites.Dlamini further stated that the quarantine sites included the Siteki Hotel where the health workers stationed at the referral hospital were accommodated as the area has been earmarked as a red zone and the staff were restricted from visiting their families in preventing the transmission of the virus.

He added that the agency was also footing the bill for the provision of a quarantine site for the students studying abroad who recently returned to the country and are accommodated at the Pigg’s Peak Hotel.

He said some of the items procured on behalf of the ministry by the agency included the PPE, face masks, fumigation sprayers, hand sanitisers as well as drugs.  He mentioned that some of the funds have been directed towards communication in the form of raising awareness about the virus as well as measures to be adopted in attempts to stop the spread in the form of advertisements on print media as well as informatials on national radio and television stations.

“All this equipment has been financed by NDMA on behalf of the government in response to the pandemic whereby the other 50 per cent has been allocated orders yet to be delivered to the agency,” he said.

Refurbishment

Dlamini mentioned that part of the remaining funds were allocated  towards the refurbishment of the referral hospital. He also stated that some of the available funds to the agency have been utilised and committed towards other sectors of the response such as provisions to security forces in terms of fuel, food and other necessities required which also consumes a considerable amount of the funds.

With regards to funds under the control of the resource mobilisation team, Dlamini revealed that as of last Monday, the pledged funds amounted to E13 387 000 and the available cash was E12 067 500.

“Worth noting is that these funds are not under the control of the agency but we are working together to disperse  them,” he explained.

He added that the expenditure to date was E750 000 and the remaining available funds were a bit over E11 million, which will be used to finance more health necessities. However, Dlamini stated that donations in kind contributed towards the fight against the pandemic amounted to E87 million, E44 million of which was donated by the United Nations (UN) as part of its response towards the nation’s efforts and would be used in various response areas such as communication and advocacy as well as education on preventive measures administered by the UN. He stated that these funds would add value to the national response.

The remainder of the donations were made by individuals, as well as various companies and organisations. Dlamini noted that there were also  donations made by Business Eswatini in kind which include the procurement of face masks, blankets for the elderly which were yet to be recieved, medical protective equipment as well as hand sanitisers and donations made in cash.

He said some of the items were donated directly to the agency while others have not reached their warehouse. He further emphasised that the donations made available and controlled by NDMA were those made directly to the agency. He further encouraged donors to make their contributions directly to the agency so it could be captured and monitored.

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