In a thin relief to businesses during the shutdown due to coronavirus, President Yoweri Museveni announced Monday evening that his government would talk to banks to ensure that they don’t seize properties of defaulters during the 14-day period.
Museveni who announced the ban of private vehicles and shutting down of all businesses except those he deemed essential, said “We are going to discuss with Banks, electricity companies and water companies in connection with the loans and bills, many people have with these units.”
He added that “It is not correct to disconnect water or electricity on account of non-payment during this time of shutdown or to seize properties on account of the non-payment of loans.”
The order not to disconnect the water and electricity is key to the homestay. Yet for many businesses, many will still feel disappointed as the president didn’t mention any direct bailout package that may come to them after the pandemic.
As a result of COVID-19, where Uganda has confirmed 33 cases, most businesses have shut down, including hotels, tour companies, and transport companies.
According to Dr Fred Muhumuza, an economist, between 15 and 17 milllion Ugandans might fall into poverty as a result of COVID-19 disruptions. Other analysts have said up to 9 million Ugandans already below the poverty line might actually starve.
Here Museveni said government, after properly identifying these people will distribute food to them in the form of maize flour, beans, powder milk, sugar, and salt.
As the lockdown takes effect, essential businesses that will remain operational are; the medical, agriculture and veterinary, telecommunication, and door-to-door delivery.
Others are; financial institutions, all media, private security companies, cleaning services, garbage collection, fire-brigade, fuel stations, water departments, and some KCCA staff should continue to operate.