“The Electricity Regulatory Authority has reduced the end-user tariff for domestic users by less than a shilling from sh751.7 to sh750.7, (Details at https://bit.ly/2xRZeQr).”
I came across that headline from Uganda’s leading newspaper this afternoon and I was surprised. Less than one shilling? One Ugandan shilling is equal to 0.00026 United States dollar. You can imagine the number of insults that dismayed Ugandans are hurling at the government through comments under that post on Facebook!
The government has remained silent on the most important issues. People must pay for their bills and the central bank of Uganda has not come out to address the issue of loans. Banks are still operating normally at the same interest rates and they’re demanding monthly loan payments from those who have loans. In a country like Uganda, where the economy is weak and the majority of people survive on low scale businesses, saving any amount of money is extremely difficult. There’s even a big percentage of people who are unemployed. After pressure from Ugandans, the National Social Security Fund released a statement saying that all the money in its treasury is currently invested in bonds in different departments of government, and still, this situation would not lead to the release of funds to the people according to the laws governing the body.
The effects of the current lockdown are immense and governments worldwide must devise favorable survival plans during this time, as well as recovery strategies at the end of the pandemic. Sadly, Uganda has no big economic plan.
I am however thankful that some communities like Musima have boreholes. These are public sources of water that are accessible to anyone freely. Much as the demand for water is more than the available number of boreholes, even those without money are able to get the water as it is an essential basic need. The initiative by Project Yesu to provide Handwashing stations in an effort to fight against coronavirus was timely. It makes it safer for people to access the water with much lower risks of contracting the infection.
The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country is now at 52 and there has not been any death linked to coronavirus. An eight months old baby has recovered from the infection and will be discharged soon. We’re now 7 days into a nationwide lockdown and this has greatly reduced travel across the country. Both public and private means of transport are prohibited. Special permission must be sought from district officials to transport the sick to hospitals. This has led to an increased number of deaths and stillbirths. Health workers are equally affected by the ban on transport and so their availability in hospitals is limited. The government vehicles that are supposed to transport health workers are not enough. However, people can still walk to markets and shops and such businesses are still operating normally.
We’re very optimistic that the rate of infection of coronavirus is going to be very slow and controllable due to the tough measures from the government. But we’re not certain about what the future will look like as the country recovers from the lockdown. Many anticipate hiking prices of necessities especially food since productivity is so low now. We continue to pray for one another for God to give us life and protection through these hard times.