A section of MPs has called for a stimulus to cushion the economy against the effects of Covid19.
The stimulus, MPs led by Kampala Central’s Muhammad Nsereko said, would include the stay of all loan repayments, lowering of the Central Bank lending rate, as well as food supplies for the downtrodden.
“When you keep people out of work, you must find a solution to maintain liquidity and cash flow,” said Nsereko during a press conference held at Parliament Building on Thursday 26 March 2020.
“Most of the bodabodas and matatus (commuter taxis) are procured on loans that are paid weekly; by stopping bodaboas and not loan repayments, you make the situation more difficult,” he added.
MP Moses Kasibante (Ind., Rubaga North) faulted government for implementing drastic measures that has since stopped public transport without warning.
“There was no transition between the announcement of the measures and the implementation of the same,” said Kasibante.
He suggested budget cuts across government departments and Ministries to provide relief supplies for the poor.
“The military budget must be cut and the money goes to cater for Ugandans, especially those under confinement,” he said.
“Travel budgets across Ministries should be used to provide food for people in cities whose means of livelihood has been curtailed,” he added.
On Wednesday, March 25, 2020, President Museveni locked down public transport and restricted privately owned cars to only carry three people including the driver.
Except cargo, all vehicles are put to halt, in latest emergency measures announced by government to curb further spread of Covid19, which has now risen to 14, according to the Health Ministry.
Nsereko listed four priority areas that include stay of loans repayment, rent, utility bills as well as access to National Social Security Fund (NSSF) by workers.
NSSF Managing Director Richard Byarugaba said he cannot issue payments of social security to workers for want of a legal regime to facilitate the same.
But Nsereko countered that by saying government should bring an amendment to the Act to provide for such payoffs, for Parliament to pass expeditiously.
Nsereko also called for a relaxation of the public transport measures, saying it is better to restrict the matatus to only 7 instead of the 14 passengers so that workers can access the city to sell their merchandise.
Trade across the globe has significantly shut down, airlines grounded and most people being asked to stay at home to cut the network of spreading the virus.
Pay cuts for civil servants, however, was opposed by the MPs, who likened it to gesturing that will have no impact, and that civil servants are already grappling with poor pay.
Other MPs were Allan Ssewanyana (DP, Makindye West) and Geoffrey Macho (NRM, Busia Municipality).
Starting in Wuhan, China, the new corona virus, christened Covid19, has ravaged nearly the entire world, with nearly half a million of the global population now battling with the infectious disease.