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Coronavirus lockdown triggers panic, confusion & more questions

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Coronavirus lockdown triggers panic, confusion & more questions

President Yoweri Museveni

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s directives issued yesterday in which he suspended all public transport means including taxis and boda bodas, for two weeks, has deepened anxiety among the public with many wondering how they will feed their families.

The ban, which came without prior warning has left many people who had hoped to travel home in upcountry, or tie up lose ends, stranded.

According to Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson Patrick Onyango, the Police this morning arrested a number of taxi drivers, boda boda riders ferrying passengers in total defiance of the Presidential directive.

Onyango added that some of those arrested include private car owners who used the ban as an opportunity to make some quick money by charging exorbitant fares from passengers.

He said for example that some passengers travelling to Masaka were charged UGX70,000, UGX90,000 to Mbale, UGX150,000 to Gulu per passenger.

But as Onyango insisted they would enforce the President’s directive to increase social distancing, a proven method of reducing the spread of the Coronavirus, many people were left wondering how they would put bread on table while others appealed to the President to make supplementary directives to ease the pain being suffered by businesses.

Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) President Evarist Kayondo asked President Museveni to go a step beyond the travel restrictions by directing Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to waive taxes especially during this period when most businesses are closed.

This comes as Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta accompanied his night-time curfew with measures aimed at helping people to cope with the difficulties.

Kenyatta announced the following measures;

A 100 percent tax relief for people earning a gross monthly income of up to KSH 24,000, which is seen as the average salary in Kenya.

A reduction in the VAT rate from 16% to 14%.
Allocation of US$94million to the elderly, orphans and “other vulnerable members of our society” to cushion them from the economic effects of COVID-19.
Suspension of certain loan repayments.
Directive to ministries and government departments to pay $122 million in arrears.

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