Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare has rolled out the third phase of emergency cash transfers under the Covid-19 urban cash transfer intervention targeting 74 150 urban beneficiaries.
In a statement yesterday, the ministry’s Principal Secretary Roselyn Makhumula said like the previous phases, the exercise will target vulnerable people in Blantyre, Zomba, Lilongwe and Mzuzu cities.
She said: “These beneficiaries were not paid in the past two phases due to the challenges faced with know your customer [KYC] processes and other technical problems.
“A further 42 000 beneficiaries, who were not paid during the first phase [payment of January and February], will also get their cash transfers during this phase.”
The initiative targets low-income semi-urban locations based on assessment of the cities’ socio-economic profiles and household vulnerability levels. Most of the beneficiaries are ultra-poor households who depend on informal employment and micro-trading.
Under the exercise, monthly cash transfers of K35 000 per month per household for three months are disbursed electronically to beneficiaries using mobile money platforms. The three months were calculated from January to March.
The initiative is being supported by the Malawi Government and its partners Unicef, the German Govemment through KfW and GIZ, International Labour Organisation, World Food Programme (WFP), the Embassy of Ireland, European Union (EU) and the World Bank.
The World Bank observed in its recent Malawi Economic Monitor that Malawi Government should pay attention to poverty reduction policies such as social cash transfers to reduce poverty levels and financial challenges which have been worsened by Covid-19.
A recent price bulletin from the International Food Policy Research Institute shows an increase in prices of foodstuffs that include legumes, tubers, livestock and livestock products and fish across the country.
Chamber for Small and Medium Businesses executive secretary James Chiutsi is on record as having said the initiative will go a long way in alleviating challenges faced by small-scale businesses in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.