The International Monetary Fund on Wednesday approved USD 491.5 million (1.9 trillion Shillings) in emergency funding for Uganda to address the impact left by the coronavirus on the economy.
The money is approved under the Rapid Credit Facility program that is meant to help poor countries pick up pieces after being battered by the virus.
The disbursement is 100 per cent of Uganda’s quota. IMF, the international lender of last resort, says the money will help Uganda fund health, social protection and macroeconomic stabilization measures.
Uganda has so far confirmed 100 cases of COVID-19. But the outbreak of the virus has seen Uganda close its borders, told businesses to shut and let employees stay home to stem the spread. This means the business has come to standstill and the country is unable to collect enough taxes to fund its budget.
Consequently, the country has been looking for funds to tackle shortfall – expected to be in the highs of Shs 3trillion, according to official estimates. The IMF cash will cover the gap left by shortfalls in tax collection due to the pandemic.
Tao Zhang, the IMF Deputy Managing Director the money will support Uganda’s urgent “budget needs”.
Neighbours Kenya (USD739) and Rwanda (USD109.4) have also received money under the Rapid Credit Facility program.