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Uganda receives UGX 117Bn COVID-19 loan from African Development Fund

FILE PHOTO: Uganda has received another loan from ADF to boost its COVID-19 response.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda has received a USD 31.6m (116.7 billion shillings) loan from the African Development Fund (ADF) to help in the response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a statement sent out on Sunday afternoon, the ADF, which is a concessional funding arm of the African Development Bank Group, said the “funds are designed as budget support within the framework of the Bank Group’s COVID-19 Crisis Response Facility.”

This brings the total to USD 823.1m (3 trillion shillings), money Uganda has received from three lenders: African Development Bank, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to respond to COVID-19 since May 2020.

African Development Bank says the money will help Uganda enhance its capacity to test and treat COVID-19 patients to reduce risk of infection and morbidity. It will ease the impact of the lockdown and other COVID-19 related measures on the poorest.

The Bank’s country manager for Uganda, Kennedy Mbekeani, said they expect the money to provide financing to the budget for targeted spending, aimed at containing and mitigating the health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The authorities are committed to full accountability on crisis-related spending including through ex-post audits of COVID-19 related spending,” he said in a statement.

The latest round of loan towards coronavirus activities is one of the many that government has received.

In May, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved USD 491.5m (1.9trillion shillings) loan to help the country finance the health, and social protection measures.

Part of this money went to Bank of Uganda to help stabilize the economy after the covid-19 instigated a complete shutdown.

The World Bank has also came through generously in June giving government $300 million (1.1trillion shillings) in budget support operation for Uganda to boost the government’s capacity to prevent, detect and treat the coronavirus. The World Bank said the money would also protect the poor and vulnerable population and support economic recovery.

Despite the fact that the loans are mostly concessional and therefore cheap and have friendly repayment terms, some Ugandans have raised red-flag on possible abuse and called on the lenders to be particularly strict on how this money is used.

Clara Mira, the IMF country representative for Uganda told reporters in May that Uganda had agreed to meet tough conditions that would ensure the money for coronavirus is not abused. The IMF in particular had asked that Uganda must report separately about the use of this money and not lump it together with general reporting of all its money

Clara said Uganda will also be required to publish large procurement contracts where this money will be spent. The third condition is that within a year, Uganda will be required to have an independent audit on the usage of the money. The results of the audit, Clara said, must be published for the public to know.

The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Uganda are now at 1,103 with one death.

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