The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced the termination of its planned COVID-19 relief grants to Uganda.
In a statement released on Friday, USAID said despite working with government to assess and approve the program through cabinet and its subsequent launch in August in Lira, the NGO Bureau in September announced an additional review of the project and consequently led to its suspension.
“GiveDirectly addressed the NGO Bureau’s questions, and no irregularities in the cash transfer program or GiveDirectly’s operations were identified. The program has still not been authorized to resume, and no assurances have been provided that authorization by the government is forthcoming,” USAID said in a statement.
“In light of this indefinite suspension, it is now unlikely that the program will meet its original objective, which was to prevent COVID-related economic backsliding of the most vulnerable Ugandans. Therefore, we are obligated contractually to terminate the program permanently.”
USAID explained that since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, the US government has provided technical assistance and more than $47million to help Uganda meet urgent needs in its COVID-19 response.
They added that the United States’ COVID-related assistance includes approximately $10 million for a direct cash transfer program launched) in August in partnership with the Ministry of Local Government and the Ministry of Kampala through the international non-profit, GiveDirectly.
“The goal of this program was to follow international precedent for economic stimulus by providing cash directly to individuals and families who need it most. Specifically, the program intended to support Ugandans who lost livelihoods as a result of COVID-19, who were at risk of food insecurity and faced serious reductions in household nutrition.”
They say under the program, 120,000 Ugandans across six cities were set to receive cash transfers of sh100,000 each month, for three months and that by September, 47,128 Ugandans had been enrolled in the program.
According to USAID, these will no longer be able to get the funds after the termination of the program.
“We deeply regret that the 120,000 Ugandans identified to participate in this program, along with their surrounding communities, will now not have the opportunity to benefit from it,” USAID adds.
“The United States is a strong and longstanding partner of Uganda and the country’s single largest donor of development and humanitarian assistance. While deeply disappointed by the reluctance of some elements within the government to support this highly effective cash transfer program, the United States remains committed to supporting the Ugandan people through this challenging time.”