CAPE TOWN – At least 780 000 Ugandans could lose income and be pushed closer to poverty due to the coronavirus pandemic.
On Thursday, the country’s minister of finance, planning and economic development, Matia Kasaija, addressed parliament on the economic impact the disease might have.
“The low activity in industry and services sectors will result in loss of jobs, leading to a decline in economic growth and an increase in the level of poverty. Up to about 780,000 people could be pushed into poverty,” he said.
The minister took to Twitter where he listed further projections.
“Projection for economic growth in the financial year 2019/20 has been revised downwards from 6.0percent to between 5.2percent -5.7percent depending on the severity of Covid-19,” he wrote.
Kasaija said his office will request a budget support loan on concessional terms worth US$100 million for financial year 2019/20 and US$ 90 million for financial year 2020/21 from the World Bank.
He said from next week he would be meeting with the private sector and financial institutions to enhance implementation of import substitution and export promotion strategy.
“Covid-19 has affected tourism, exports, imports, remittances and foreign direct investments,” said Kasaija.
The minister said the country’s travel restrictions in the United States, Europe and Asia would cause a greater decline in the tourism sector.
“Tourism earnings are also expected to decline significantly in the last four months of the financial year,” he said.
He said Uganda’s key trading partners are in the Middle East, European Union and Asia.
President Yoweri Museveni has put in measures to reduce the spread of the Covid-19, including school closures, banning of mass gatherings and stricter travel restrictions.
Museveni instituted an immediate ban of all out-bound movement by Ugandans to or through identified high-risk countries for 32 days. Only foreigners can travel provided they don’t return to Uganda.
He also ordered that Ugandans returning from abroad undergo mandatory quarantine in identified facilities, but at their own cost.
“If they want to avoid that inconvenience or cost, they can sit out the storm in the country of their temporary abode,” he said.