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NGOs call for reopening of banks


The National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (Nango) has expressed concern over the closure of banks as part of the 21-day lockdown to control the spread of the coronavirus, saying it will leave the vulnerable badly exposed.

Nango, a grouping of pro-democracy and humanitarian non-governmental organisations in Zimbabwe, said the closure of financial institutions had crippled the work of its members.

The lobby group said its members needed access to money to carry out their work during the lockdown that began on March 30.

“The humanitarian sector needs to procure in large quantities commodities needed to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 for rural and urban communities and health centres,” Nango said in a statement yesterday.

“Pharmacies need to import medicines that are critical not only in the fight against Covid-19, but also for chronic illnesses that affect a significant population in Zimbabwe.” 

It added: “Civil society organisations in the women’s sector need to procure sanitary wear for underprivileged women that depend on NGOs to provide these for free.

“Citizens did not have ample time to prepare for the lockdown and need to restock food and other essentials.

“This necessitates some of them to transact in banking halls.”

As a compromise, Nango proposed that banks must open for at least four hours a day to serve their clients and that the banking halls must manned by personnel equipped with personal protective equipment.

“All banks should ensure that people queue a metre apart, and depending on the size a banking hall should not have more than 10 people at a time,” the group said.

“All banks should provide at all entry and exit points hand sanitiser that has at least 60% alcohol.

“There should be clear signage at all bank entrances discouraging people showing Covid-19 symptoms from accessing the bank.”

As of Friday, Zimbabwe had recorded 13 coronavirus cases with three fatalities.

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