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COVID-19 EFFECTS: Most Ugandans opt for family bailouts at the expense of financial institutions- Twaweza report

KAMPALA- As Uganda continues to borrow money purportedly to fight COVID 19 and its effects, its citizens have learnt to be content with the situation and are not borrowing.

This is according to report findings released today by the Food Rights Alliance and Twaweza in a factsheet entitled Livelihoods under COVID-19: Livelihoods and inequality. 

The factsheet is the first in a three-part series of impact assessments based on data from Sauti za Wananchi, Africa’s first nationally representative high-frequency mobile phone survey. The findings are based on data collected from 1,600 respondents across Uganda in May and June 2020.

Despite the increased pressure Ugandans are now facing, the data shows that people are turning to family for help, rather than lending institutions. Other options people are using to get help include selling assets and seeking casual work. 

On the side of businesses, a significant 4 out of 10 (41%) are no longer operating because of the lockdown or due to other Covid-19 mitigation and management measures. Among those who would borrow money, the main source is friends and neighbors (56%), followed by savings groups (17%) and family (10%).

Marie Nanyanzi of Sauti za Wananchi at Twaweza said that this data provides some early insights into a new economic order for Ugandans following Covid-19. The data also reveals that, contrary to expectations, rural households are facing even greater financial strain than their urban counterparts.

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Agnes Kirabo, the Executive Director Food Rights Alliance said the data shows the gap in Uganda’s food governance system; whereas, household food security has been more resilient to shocks such as pandemics, national food security suffers under such shocks, further weakening household food security.

However, Commissioner, Equity and Rights, Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development, Benard Mujuni while speaking at the online launch of the survey report, today said it is not time for blame games but for all people to come together and find lasting solutions to the effects of COVID 19.

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