Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
GOVERNMENT has disbursed funds to the first batch of Bulawayo businesses that lost their goods and properties during the January protests which were characterised by looting and burning down of shops.
The money is part of the $19,5 million special fund set up to assist businesses that were looted during the violent protests.
An inter-ministerial team visited most of the affected areas in January before coming up with the fund.
Bulawayo province suffered the most devastating damage.
In an interview yesterday, Industry and Commerce Deputy Minister Cde Raj Modi said the first batch of beneficiaries had received their funds.
“Most of them have received the money although some people could not have received theirs. I know the first batch of money has been given to its beneficiaries. I don’t have the exact figures of how much was disbursed but I am aware that the Government disbursed the money,” said Cde Modi.
He expressed ignorance on claims that some people who were intended to receive the money did not get their allocations.
“That one I don’t know about it. The application process was done in a transparent manner so I wouldn’t know those claims,” said Cde Modi.
Industrialists estimate that the economy could have lost business amounting to $300 million over the three-day forced shut-down.
Companies and individuals who lost their properties to the marauding demonstrators have been plunged into serious financial challenges since insurance firms do not compensate anything destroyed during riots.
Ordinary businesses became the biggest targets of attacks, resulting in the loss of goods, income, jobs and shops which were vandalised. — @nqotshili.