The Zimbabwean government requires US$300 000 to fly home thousands of locals who are stranded in foreign lands due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Appearing before the Foreign Affairs Parliamentary Committee chaired by Kindness Paradza in Parliament on Tuesday, Foreign Affairs ministry secretary, James Manzou revealed that Treasury has hitherto failed to raise the required amount. He said:
We have requested for US$300 000 for air tickets from Treasury but nothing has come from the Finance Ministry leaving us to rely on well-wishers. Only a contingency fee for the embassy staff of US$10 000 has been made available. We have no money.
Our missions need a consular fund because in most cases, we burden our embassy officials as they are forced by difficult situations to make contributions from their own pockets for Zimbabweans to come back home.
Manzou also revealed that the country’s diplomats serving in foreign lands are stressed by the large number of Zimbabweans who are requesting to be assisted by the government.
Thousands of Zimbabweans from South Africa and Botswana and further afield have been returning home as countries feel the impact of the socio-economic effects caused by the coronavirus.