Botswana: Opening of Economy to Reduce Need for Food Relief Packages

Gaborone — The number of beneficiaries of COVID-19 food relief packages is set to reduce as the economy gradually opens.

In an interview with BOPA, COVID-19 Food Relief Programme coordinator, Mr Gabriel Seeletso said guidelines were being drafted for the second round of the food distribution exercise.

The guidelines, he said, would consider changes brought about by opening up of the economy as some households were now able to fend for themselves.

Mr Seeletso said the new guidelines would not include farm produce while the size of food packages was expected to reduce as household numbers were likely to decline as people returned to their other residences.

However, some people would continue to benefit during the second round because of their social status, he said.

He said included would be people covered under other government social safety nets.

Meanwhile, Mr Seeletso stated that the food distribution exercise was carried out smoothly despite the fact that some people were double dipping by registering in different places.

He said investigations to bring perpetrators to book were ongoing.

Noting that the exercise experienced some hiccups, he pleaded with the public to cooperate with social workers by giving them the right information so that deserving citizens could be assisted.

Mr Seeletso said government had initially budgeted about P150 million to assist those affected by the lockdown covering food baskets, transportation and remuneration for temporary social workers roped in to conduct assessments.

Mr Seeletso explained that the social workers used a standard assessment form to identify those eligible for assistance but noted that the National Social Policy (on Destitute Persons) provided guidelines on what a person who qualified to be assisted with a food basket should get.

He explained that the size of a food basket depended on the number of beneficiary's dependents revealing that in some cases, social workers used their discretion to determine how much a household needed to survive for a month.

Source : BOPA

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