COVID-19: Suspend OTT, MPs tell government

Friday April 3 2020



President Museveni. PPU PHOTO

President Museveni. PPU PHOTO  

By JOB BWIRE

A few hours before Ministry of Health reported on Thursday that one person had tested positive, in addition to 44 others, President Museveni said he would address the nation today.
Through his press secretary, Ms Lindah Nabusayi, the President said he would update Ugandans on the Covid-19 situation.

“President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni will tomorrow Friday 3rd April, update the Nation on the Covid-19 situation at 8pm. Tune in to all radio and television stations,” Ms Nabusayi said on Thursday evening.
This will be Mr Museveni’s seventh address since the outbreak was declared in the country last month.
In his earlier addresses, the President suspended schools, religious gatherings, transport (public and private), outlawed non-food markets/shops and arcades for 14 days before declaring a curfew which started on March 31, 2020.

When we asked our online readers what they expect the president to address this evening, most of them said they expect to hear a government plan and solution on how they will survive the remaining days of the lockdown, given the fact that they have been rendered jobless and some without food.
After reading a report from a taskforce that she set up on March 19, 2020 to study the economic impact of Covid-19 pandemic on Uganda, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga on Thursday said it (report) paints a gloomy economic picture of the immediate future, including lower incomes and economic growth.
In their recommendations, the taskforce led by MP Elijah Okupa urged Bank of Uganda to reduce lending rates and also reduce amount of money that commercial banks must deposit in BoU.

Other recommendations include reduction of interest rates, production of a comprehensive economic stimulus package, and suspension of OTT and further reduction of taxes on Mobile Money.
The report also recommend that the government ought to buy water and air ambulances in addition to enhancing payments to the elderly.

Some of our online readers, expect to hear President Museveni’s plan to avert the negative effects of the lockdown such as poverty, unemployment and business collapse, especially for small scale operators. They also expect the President to rein in on security personnel misusing their powers to torture Ugandans, and to suspend rent, loan repayment, and digital TV subscription for at least three months.

Below is what some of our online followers said:
Becca Powers (on Twitter): I’m wondering if the president owns all arcades in Kampala because he can’t even stop his arcade managers from collecting money from us even when we are fully closed.
Muwanika Yusuf (on Twitter): I expect him to continuously remind Ugandans to keep safe and follow the basic hygienic procedures set by ministry of health and instill hope that we shall definitely defeat the Covid-19 virus.

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Derrick Kyatuka(on Twitter): Dear Mr President @KagutaMuseveni as you address the media today, kindly emphasise the directive you gave about media in your previous speech. Your ministers, especially the minister of security has violated the directive.
Awich Pat (on Twitter): PAYE, NSSF, no paying rent until we’re virus free.
Rashid Katra (on Twitter): Instead of making billboards to inform us about something we already know.. Why don’t they add that money to the budget of supplying Ugandans enough food..? omg this is really sad we fighting corona and that’s the best solution people can think of now..

Sunday Tamiteo (on Twitter): Talk about national distribution of food not only in Kampala and it's metropolitan area.
Toto Derick (on Twitter): Many Ugandans want the government to talk about rent since the country is locked down due to Covid-19.
Lamar Derrick (on Twitter): Travels should further be suspended for 14 additional days because cases are increasing on almost a daily basis but private car owners should be allowed to use their vehicles with only the driver inside.
Bigirwenkya Alex Businge, (on Facebook): We hope the president can give a plan and solution to small businesses that are going to close due to this lockdown. The unemployment that will come in after and such social issues that are a direct effect of this lock down.

Fahad Kully Ausi (on Facebook): He should talk about tax returns to all Ugandans in form of food relief. LCs should be given authority to permit sick people to hospitals instead of RDCs who are hard to reach. He should abide by World Bank and relax bank loans in form of holidays. He should give more light and strategy about basic needs and utility bills.

Taremwa Precious (on Facebook): The lockdown should be revised, allowing movements of people has contradicted the essence of the lockdown. People are many in town, at boda boda stages, food markets like Kalerwe, Nakulabye, Nakasero and many others are crowded more than before without observing the social distancing. Ambulances and army private vehicles should also be controlled and stopped from carrying passengers.
Omoding Emmy (on Facebook): He should warn a section of his ministers like the one of ICT to avoid taking advantage of Covid-19 to con money from the government. Who will read those billboards when we are all indoors? Of what benefit will they be after the Covid-19 fight? Which youth group is she claiming are not updated on Covid-19? MTN already updates when making calls, what else does she claim to be more important than helping those poverty stricken people in the villages? I’m not happy with her nonsense.

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