Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja tabled before Parliament a list of beneficiaries who have received the Covid-19 relief cash.
The beneficiaries are from Kawempe Division, Nakawa Division, and Gulu City. She said that the list was meant to ensure accountability and transparency.
The list was then referred to Parliament’s Accountability Committee-PAC Central Government and the Local Government Accountability Committee by Deputy Speaker Anita Among for scrutiny and report back to parliament as soon as possible.
The government on July 8, 2021, launched the distribution of 100,000 Shillings Covid-19 relief cash to vulnerable Ugandans affected by the 42-day lockdown announced by President Yoweri Museveni to interrupt the spread of coronavirus.
Nabbanja told Parliament that the beneficiaries were identified from groups of people that depend on daily earnings in urban areas. She added that the government undertook a verification exercise of the vulnerable people in the Kampala Metropolitan Area, all Cities, and Municipalities.
She said that the Ministry of Finance released 53.5 billion Shillings and so far, 41.35 billion Shillings has been paid out.
In her progress report, the total number of targeted beneficiaries is 501,107 across Cities and Municipalities, and that by 4:00 pm on Tuesday, 413,5O4 beneficiary records had been submitted to the bank and paid to represent 82.5 percent.
The beneficiaries include bus or taxi drivers, conductors, baggage carriers, wheelbarrow pushers, touts, traffic guides, barmen, Djs, barmaids, waiters and bouncers, gym and restaurant workers, boda-boda riders, special hire drivers and Uber drivers, salons, massage parlor workers, and others.
Regarding the failed payments, Nabbanja said that out of the total 501,107 records submitted, a total of 87,603 records did not pass the verification requirements by Telecom Databases due to invalid National lD numbers, telephone numbers registered under different names, non-existent or unregistered telephone numbers, and non-mobile money registered numbers.
“The failed numbers have been sent back to the Cities, Municipalities for correction before payment can be done. The town clerks have been guided and trained by the Ministry of Gender, NITA-U on what to do,” said Nabbanja.
Nabbanja says that the intervention was a short-term relief and not meant to address the high poverty levels. She said that as the government continues to mobilize resources, other vulnerable categories may be considered.
Mathias Mpuuga, the Leader of Opposition in parliament expressed his displeasure to the Prime Minister’s statement. He said that the government was putting a lot of emphasis on curative rather than preventive measures.
Mpuuga asked the government to put all the emphasis on vaccination saying that the majority of the funds under emergency COVID-19 are being spent on activities that can be funded under a normal budget.
Mpuuga also noted that apart from food, the cash relief did not consider other costs of daily living such as water, electricity, medical care, and others. He says that these costs should have been incorporated in the computation of the cash transfers.
Anna Adeke, the Soroti Woman MP also raised concern over the discriminative approach by the government to identify beneficiaries of the Covid-19 relief. She demanded that the Prime Minister responds to concerns raised by the public that the relief was distributed to only NRM supporters.
Stephen Kangwagye, the Bukanga County MP said that he was happy that the 42-day lockdown has helped the country register a significant drop in the rate of hospitalization and that this is good and encouraging to the frontline workers to move forward.
He said that government needs to provide the country’s health workers with sufficient protective gear and that this must be budgeted for and provided urgently.
As of Tuesday 20th July 2021, Uganda had registered 91,162 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 70,377 recoveries and 2,425 deaths. Currently, there are 746 admitted to health facilities.