During this COVID-19 pandemic, the government has tried to “come through” for the worst-hit groups of people. Government started by distributing relief food to people in and around Kampala and Wakiso, and this was extended to other districts by forming District COVID-19 taskforces.
The government of Uganda, with other East African countries, agreed to come up with a stimulus package for small and medium enterprises in East Africa to keep them recover and stay afloat after the COVID-19 pandemic.
That is not all. There is another package coming. The Secretary to the Treasury and Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Finance Keith Muhakanizi said today, that there has to be a change in the spending behaviour of the population once the economy fully reopens, but noted that millions of people will not have much to spend.
As an intervention, the government “will give cash vouchers to poor people to make purchases in shops for essential supplies.”
This revelation came after he was quizzed to provide the proposed allocation of the money the Finance Ministry is yet to receive from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank once Parliament passes the resolution that gives them the green light to do so.
This means that Uganda is to follow countries like the USA who have also given cash to their citizens to help them through the COVID-19 period.
Muhakanizi also said that the government is looking at helping the tourism sector which has been totally shut down due to suspension of domestic and international travel.
The Permanent Secretary noted that manufacturing and agriculture are steadily growing and that Uganda’s production is in surplus, but there are constraints in regional trade caused by non-tariff barriers.
“We have problems in regional trade. Our exports like sugar and milk products have been hit by non-tariff barriers in Tanzania and Kenya respectively. We need to strengthen the Trade Ministry to negotiate better,” Muhakanizi said, adding that there is need for Uganda to widen her export market to other regions in Africa.