Botswana: Essential Services Providers to Use Permits

Gaborone — Government will issue individuals performing essential services and transporting goods with COVID-19 travel permits during the state of emergency period, says President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi.

Declaring the state of emergency yesterday, President Masisi announced a more severe form of social distancing where movement out of homes would be restricted only to those performing essential services and transporting essential goods.

He encouraged the public to continue practising social distancing during the period of extreme lockdown describing it as a critical tool and method in the fight against COVID-19.

"By social distancing we refer to any public measure taken to reduce interaction and contact between persons. The measures are taken to limit the spread of diseases that are transmitted between humans through touching and coughing. In this case we refer specifically to the COVID-19 virus," he said.

President Masisi also spoke about interventions government had put in place under the COVID-19 Relief Fund, key of which was to ensure provision of psychosocial support to those affected.

On critical mitigating measures to be put in place, he said some were monetary in nature while others would necessitate policy adjustments.

The objective of the interventions were to give support to workers, stabilize businesses, ensure availability of strategic supplies as well as explore opportunities for economic diversification, the President said.

He said a wage subsidy for citizen employees of businesses mostly affected by COVID-19 would be provided to enable them to retain workers.

To give businesses some cash-flow relief, President Masisi said government would guarantee loans by commercial banks to businesses mostly affected by COVID-19.

In addition, eligible businesses affected by COVID-19 would be given access to credit to support ongoing operations in conditions where financing became more difficult to obtain.

Government would also give tax concessions to businesses in eligible sectors, he revealed.

Dr Masisi said government would ensure continued availability of strategic supplies to Batswana including built-up grain and fuel reserves, reduction of fuel prices, sufficient provision of water bowsers, trucks, water tanks and the supply of medical equipment.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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