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Ministers meet private sector over coronavirus

By Eddie Ssejjoba

Added 26th March 2020 09:42 PM

This followed a number of challenges that had emerged after President Yoweri Museveni announced measures geared towards fighting the COVID-19 in the country.

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This followed a number of challenges that had emerged after President Yoweri Museveni announced measures geared towards fighting the COVID-19 in the country.

Minister Kasaija meeting private sector leaders in Kampala on Thursday. Photos by Eddie Ssejjoba

CORONAVIRUS  

The Government ministers have met a group of private sector actors in an emergency meeting intended to address challenges as a result of Coronavirus campaign, which have started affecting businesses.

In an emergency meeting held at the Office of the Prime Minister and chaired by the finance minister, Matia Kasaija, the private sector who represented major players asked government to make further interventions to address challenges related to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The meeting was attended by ministers, Betty Amongi, minister for Kampala and Berna Namugwanya Magembe, state for Kampala as well as state minister for finance, David Bahati.

 Vision Group CEO Robert Kabushenga attending the meeting

This followed a number of challenges that had emerged after President Yoweri Museveni announced measures geared towards fighting the COVID-19 in the country.

The private sector feel that there must be a common consensus on the implementation of the measures to ensure government addresses the economic challenges arising from the pandemic.

 
In the meeting, government pledged to discuss how to support media organizations bridge financial gaps after it was revealed that many companies that have been supporting them through advertisements were locking down in a phased manner due to the Corona Virus effects.

Bahati said they were also considering paying what government owes some companies and individual traders that supply commodities and services and discuss the matter of offering extension of the credit period by business people who have borrowed money from banks.

“We have been able to consistently discuss ideas and how to address issues that are coming out of the decisions government is making to protect the people of Uganda and agreed that at the same time we need to explain to them what we are doing,” Bahati said after the meeting.

 

Bahati said they were considering ways of letting telecommunication companies increase the limits of amount of money one can put on mobile money from sh7m to sh15m and temporally remove charges.

Other concerns included ways of helping low income and daily earners who would be badly affected by the Presidential measures on how they would cop up with the current situation.

Kashaija said he had also noted concerns that law enforcers and security groups had started harassing people including those who were carrying goods for delivery and those operating shops.

 Kashaija reminded the meeting that their task was to ensure that ‘human beings are alive, anything else you do is secondary.

 Officials washing their hands before the meeting started

“The primary responsibility is to ensure that this enemy that has entered our house is defeated and people must be ready to sacrifice in terms of time and transport, if we fight together we will overcome and the economy will blossom again,” he said.

Kashaija tasked the committee, chaired by the Vision Group Managing director, Robert Kabushenga, to write and submit to him a paper detailing their concerns by Tuesday next week for further consideration by the cabinet.

Amongi pledged that her ministry would immediately issue a circular to the security agencies to clear company branded vehicles carrying more than three people and to permit exceptions of where companies hire buses or coasters to transport essential staff to their work places.

Such companies, she said, would be issued with stickers.

Kabushenga said the private sector raised a number of issues which concern them and the challenges facing them after the outbreak of the coronavirus.

“We have achieved our objective of meeting with the government and bringing out issues that concern us,” he stated, adding that they were happy that government had understood them.

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