Coronavirus may impoverish at least 780,000 Ugandans

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Reports from Uganda indicate that at least 780,000 Ugandans may be pushed deep into poverty as the spread of coronavirus takes a toll on the country’s economy.

Mr Matia Kasaija, the Finance minister, told Parliament on Thursday, the low activity in the industry and services sectors will result into job losses, further leading to economic decline and an increase in poverty levels.

Mr Matia Kasaija, minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development./Photo by Daily Monitor

“The number of people that could be pushed into poverty is estimated at 780,000,” he said.

According to the minister, the tourism sector alone will severely be affected by a sharp drop in tourists visiting Uganda following travel restrictions in the USA, Europe and Asia.

“Tourism earnings are also expected to decline significantly in the last four months of the financial year,” he said in a government statement to the House.

Additionally, exports are expected to decline in the last four months of the financial year, on account of a sharp reduction in global demand and travel restrictions imposed by Uganda’s key trading partners in the Middle East, European Union and Asia.

This will also be witnessed with imports likely to be affected by the prevailing restrictions and a reduction in demand within the local economy.

Majority of Uganda’s imports come from Asia, particularly China. Overall, imports are expected to decline by 44% in the last four months of this financial year, he said.

Kasaija added that the revenue collections will nosedive for the remaining period of the FY2019/20 (March-June) and in FY2020/21.