Uganda: World Bank Gives Uganda Shs1 Trillion to Fight COVID-19

Medical face masks (file photo).

The World Bank has approved $300 million (about Shs1.1trillion) budget to aid Uganda in fighting the coronavirus Covid-19.

The money will be used "to boost the government's capacity to prevent, detect and treat coronavirus, protect the poor and vulnerable population and support economic recovery," the Bank announced Tuesday.

It said Uganda's efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus had battered the country's economy and was likely to send an extra 3.15 million citizens into poverty. Already, about 8.7 million Ugandans are living below the poverty line of less than two dollars a day.

"The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the economy and livelihoods. This budget support operation will enable the Government to provide vital services, social safety nets and a more robust shock-responsive system for the long term; and the economy to recover faster," said Tony Thompson, World Bank Country Manager for Uganda.

The Covid-19 pandemic, flooding and the locust invasion have hurt the economy, dimming Uganda's projected overall economic growth to a low 3-4 percent in the financial year 2020/2021 from an earlier projected 6.3 per cent.

To secure the financing, the Bank says, Uganda has committed to undertake policy that directly supports low income households.

Presenting the country's annual budget for 2020/2021 recently, Finance Minister Matiya Kasaija said the country will inject money directly to support cash for work labour intensive programmes to benefit some half a million people.

He said Uganda would also expand support to the vulnerable senior citizens grant for empowerment (SAGE) programme to cover an extra 71 districts.

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