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21 Mai 2020

Raymond Mujuni, Daily Monitor (Uganda)

Uganda: Workers, including in hospitality & manufacturing sectors, losing jobs due to Covid-19 pandemic

"Workers feel the pinch of Covid-19"

...Whether it is the floating letters on social media or the buried emails on company servers, many salaried employees are bearing the brunt of pay cuts, redundancy or termination all together...For Uganda, the Minister of Finance estimated it would drive some 780,000 people into poverty. Some governments have stared this bleak figure in the eye with all round economic stimulus packages which have included cuts to Pay As You Earn and corporation taxes like the Kenyan government. While others are simply putting money in people’s pockets and sacrificing a tenth of the national input like South Africa.

As for Uganda, speech after speech, workers have worn out seat-edges and rationed free government flour and beans in earnest.“I do not feel the government has even begun to do anything for the economy to be honest,” Damalie, a laid-off marketer decried. Damalie had been laid off by a technology firm with global operations. She was typing away a communications proposal for the firm when midway, an email, interrupted her informing Damalie that her source of livelihood was being taken away...

As heads of schools donated to the National Task Force on Covid-19, several teachers, especially in private schools, cried out for relief food saying they had not been paid since the president closed all education institutions in March to combat the pandemic. This sad irony is playing out in other sectors as well.The Uganda Hotel Owners’ Association revealed that their members have been forced to send at least 400,000 employees on unpaid leave due to the Covid-19 lockdown that has plunged tourism, the country’s biggest foreign exchange earner and other sectors of the economy, into disarray.