As Ugandans come to terms with the biting effect of the new lockdown measures by the government aimed at controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, legislators from Kampala have asked authorities to relieve the suffering of the people by waiving fees payments for water and electricity, among other demands.
Led by Kampala Central MP, Muhammad Nsereko, the MPs asked the government to bring those measures as a means to help millions of people who have lost income due to the numerous transport limitations and other measures that have been introduced by President Yoweri Museveni.
“This is a time that utilities companies should consider not charging people utilities bill for about a period of 120 days because people are going to stay home and businesses are going to be destructed,” said Nsereko.
He appealed to the general public to be vigilante and avoid contracting the virus that have so far killed nearly 20,000 people world wide in just three months.
Nsereko asked the government to pay health workers a motivational allowance to encourage them to remain on the front line.
“Because as we have heard in Italy, the people that have contracted this virus more are those who have been attending to the patients trying to save lives,” he said.
Nsereko made the call on Monday, March 23 while addressing journalists at Parliament.
He also called for relaxation on payment of loans, rent and utilities to help Ugandans cope with the global pandemic.
Nsereko urged the government to engage the commercial banks to relax and rescue the loans on those who are indebted for a period of 90 to 120 days.
“Relax the loan repayment or reschedule loan repayments and the government can make an intervention whereby it gives them a tax holiday for these financial year,” said Nsereko.
Other legislators that included Makindye East MP Allan Ssewanyana, also asked the National Social Security Funds (NSSF) to allow savers to access at least 20% of their savings in order to sustain themselves during this trying period.
On this Nsereko said: “There are savings that people have made through the National Social security Fund, isn’t this the time that NSSF considers depending on the magnitude of what someone has saved, giving people as back up, to allow people to access part of their funding,”said Nsereko.
MP Ssewanyana said the limitations are biting hard with majority of the population now not sure how their next meal will comeby since they east from hand to mouth through informal trade.
“80% of those affected are in informal sector. Boda Boda riders, people who invested in the business of transport and other in the small businesses like restaurants, are suffering.”he said.
Ssewanyanna noted that since the Ministry of Finance has requested for a supplementary of UGX 700 billon to fight this pandemic, there is hope that part of the money can be used to solve simple problems facing Ugandans that can help save live that can be lost due to other factors other than corona virus.