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Uganda Receives Shs640b from World Bank for Covid-19 response

The World Bank last week announced that it will give an additional $180.3 million (Shs640b) to Uganda to fight Covid-19.

Of this $164.3m (about Shs581b) is a grant from the International Development Association, which includes $27m (Shs95.9b) for host communities and refugees, and $16m (Shs56.8b) to support essential health services.

Mr Jim Mugunga, the Finance ministry spokesperson said that they had asked for money to buy more vaccines and maintain essential health services.

“There are various activities under health that we will use the money to fund; ambulances, Covid-19 [vaccines], and some of it will go to management,” he said.

The World Bank said in a report on March 2021 that the $300 million (Shs1 trilion) released in 2020, was used to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic and protect the poor and vulnerable population.

“The project complemented and leveraged support from other development partners including a Rapid Credit Facility of $490 million from the International Monetary Fund delivered in May 2020 to strengthen the foreign exchange reserves position and finance the national budget,” the Bank report said. “It supported the roll-out of several social protection measures, including cash transfers to the elderly and temporary cash-for-work for informal sector workers in the main urban areas in the country and in flood-affected districts,” it added.

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Ms Mukami Kariuki, the World Bank country manager for Uganda, said in the statement on December 16: “This upfront financing will help Uganda acquire vaccines from a range of sources to support the country’s objective to acquire a portfolio of vaccines under the right conditions, which include value-for-money, with appropriate regulatory approvals, and a swift delivery time.

“The project will finance the deployment of the vaccines across the country to citizens and refugees free of cost.”
The vaccines will be acquired through the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility and the African Union’s Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT).

The new financial package comes amid public concerns and queries from Members of Parliament about the management of finances for the Covid-19 response.

The October 2020 Covid-19 intervention report by the Budget Monitoring and Accountability Unit (BMAU) in the Finance ministry indicated that although resources were given to the Health ministry for Covid-19 response, there was delayed service delivery and procurement of substandard items in addition to inflating commodity prices.

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Source; DailyMonitor

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