Utilise Covid relief funds well, churches encouraged
GOVERNMENT has implored the churches to use the COVID-19, church relief funds prudently.
Over 50 churches, religious and faith based organisations have successfully applied for the empowerment scheme being disbursed under the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs.
Permanent Secretary, in the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs, Howard Sikwela , has restated that the empowerment fund to be disbursed to successful applicants is meant to build resilience capacity among churches, religious and faith based organisations in the face of the pandemic.
The Permanent Secretary echoed this when the ministry conducted a financial management and mindset change training for recipients of the funds in Lusaka today.
He repeated that the government is aware of the financial challenges facing many churches hence the decision to provide financial support.
“You may wish to note that out of the fifty million (50,000,000.00) empowerment fund, the ministry has so far received only twenty five million kwacha (25, 000, 000.00). This entails that more people will be empowered once the other twenty five million is released.” He said.
Government has released 25 million Kwacha out of the 50 million kwacha set aside for empowering churches, religious and faith based organisations in the wake of COVID-19.
Reverend Sikwela clarified that the funds being provided by government is not meant to induce or corrupt churches, but to keep religious and faith based organisations afloat during the COVID pandemic.
He urged churches, religious and based organisations to remain non-partisan ahead of the August 12 general elections.
“We are in an election year and campaigns have started, i urge you to remain non-partisan. the church and religious organisations are serving a large number of people from a wide community with different political affiliations, it is important that you guide people well; preach peace, love and national unity at all times,” Reverend Sikwela emphasised.
And Independent Churches of Zambia, President Bishop David Masupa, said the empowerment funds will go a long way in cushioning the churches from the shocks of COVID 19.