COVID-19 Economic Impact on Uganda: An Open Letter to President Museveni by Business Mogul, Amos Nzeyi

Businessman Amos Nzeyi By Amos Nzeyi

First of all, I would like to thank you and your cabinet- for the courageous leadership thus far- especially the decisions announced on March 18th 2020 which among others include the decision to temporarily disperse areas of population concentrations such as schools; religious, political and social gatherings, as well as travel restrictions on certain high risk countries.

I do agree with you, that much as this may hurt the economy temporarily, it is necessary to shield the country from much bigger harm- should, God forbid Corona land in the country and, in your own words: “find plenty of dry grass piled up and ready for flaming.”

In the same breath, I would like to thank all people, at the frontline- healthcare workers, the armed forces, immigration and aviation officials, and all other government and private sector personnel who are putting themselves in harm’s way to ensure that by the time of writing this article, Uganda is still one of the few countries in the world, without a single confirmed case of Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19).

In the same spirit I applaud all the efforts being put in place by all stakeholders in the private sector and civil society, such as the measures announced by some telecom operators and bankers, to reduce transaction charges on digital banking so as to encourage the public to migrate to using more digital money instead of cash, which has been identified as a potential medium of transmission for COVID-19.

Fighting together as a country, under your leadership, we do believe, COVID-19 shall be defeated like we have defeated Ebola and other disease outbreaks.

The economic impact of COVID-19 Mr. President, even though Uganda is still safe from COVID-19, given the nature of the global economy, the economic effects have already started landing. We now know, from the March 19th 2020 Finance Minister’s statement to parliament that due to depressed global demand and travel restrictions associated with COVID-19, there will be a severe reduction in exports and tourism receipts. We also know that foreign workers remittances and Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) will “decline significantly”.

This, combined with an estimated 50% reduction in loan disbursements in the last five months of FY2019/20 will not only reduce money inflows, but will also put pressure on the shilling, eventually causing foreign exchange reserves to decline from 4.2 future months of imports to about 3.5 months.

Government has also warned […]

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