Government yesterday launched the disbursement of Covid-19 cash relief to vulnerable Ugandans affected by the lockdown.
A total of 53,000 people received the money in the first batch while 75,075 were pending approval.
A total of 501,107 people are supposed to receive Shs102, 425 each.
The Prime Minister, Ms Robinah Nabbanja, said names of 128,075 beneficiaries had been entered in the system as of yesterday.
“I believe that 50 per cent of Ugandans are going to receive money today [yesterday] and others will continue to receive as we go along. We shall tell you the deadline when the exercise will stop,” Ms Nabbanja said.
Only six people were cleared to receive the Covid cash from Kampala and they were all from Nakawa Division. Kampala is supposed to provide a list of 157,474 beneficiaries.
Gulu topped the list of those who received money yesterday with 11,618 people followed by Lira (2,806), Mukono (2,044), and Busia (1,162).
Others are Kira Municipality (9,302), Mukono (2,044), Masaka (3,232), Mubende (5,350), Mbale (2,884), Kabale (4,381) and Mbarara (2,694) .
Ms Nabbanja made a direct phone call to a few people to confirm receipt of the money and the first recipient was Mr Godfrey Oloya, a boda boda rider in Gulu.
For one to be cleared to receive relief funds, he or she should possess a National Identity Card (ID) and their National Identification Numbers (NINs) should match with names registered for the telephone number.
The beneficiaries whose contacts are not registered in their names will receive cash through Post Bank.
“We have a number of vans that have been delivering cash to elderly in more than 75 districts. After clearing beneficiaries with phones, we shall deliver cash to beneficiaries at their door steps using these vans. We shall work with Local Governments to reach them,” Mr George William Kiyingi, the Post Bank manager for Grants and Strategic Partnership, said.
The Permanent Secretary at the Gender ministry, Mr Aggrey Kibenge, yesturday said data of the beneficiaries is uploaded on the system by the data clerks after approval from town clerks.
Mr Kibenge said their IT department verifies the data to ensure that people’s names match with their NINs and his office does the final approval before sending the list to Post Bank.
Post Bank sends the cleared list to MTN and Airtel to send to beneficiaries.
Glitches in Covid-cash distribution
Government had initially said LC1s were going to register beneficiaries, but made a u-turn and asked town clerks to collect the data with the help of National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) and Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS).
This caused confusion, especially in Kampala City, where some residents protested the lists that were displayed by the town clerks, saying they had names of people who had died and those who had moved to other areas.
The Lord Mayor of Kampala, Mr Erias Lukwago, yesterday said the process was wrong right from the start, when the government excluded his office, division mayors and local leaders.
“It is a national shame for Kampala that is the capital city to have only six people on the list. The whole process was messy, shameful and hopeless. The right thing that should have been done was to involve local leadership who are the LC1s and mayors, not NIRA, NITA and UBOS,” Mr Lukwago said.
Mr Lukwago also faulted government for not having a data bank of the vulnerable people in the country, something he said would have eased the work of distribution of funds.
Mr Lukwago also said the idea of dishing out cash hand-outs to the vulnerable was ill-advised because it has caused instability among the city dwellers and attracted “mafia” in the exercise, adding that government should have given food to the population instead of cash.
Similarly, Nakawa Division mayor Emmanuel Sserunjogi said excluding elected leaders from this exercise was deliberate to delay the release of funds for Kampala because they did not vote NRM, asserting that the exercise has been politicised.
“Kampala is full of Opposition people and the government is doing this deliberately to stigmatise our voters. It is the mayors, councillors and LC1s who were supposed to handle this exercise effectively,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nakawa Division town clerk Denis Omodi said the system used to upload data figures is very slow.
“At least 15,247 beneficiaries from the division were yesterday cleared to be entered in the system, but the system is slow. Uploading takes time because you have to enter one beneficiary at a go; you have to enter their village, job and parish,” Mr Omodi said.
At the time of the launch yesterday, Nakawa Division had uploaded the names of only six beneficiaries out of the 27,892.
Mr Omodi said they collected the data of 40,000 beneficiaries from 227 villages in the division with the help of the LC1s using a door-to-door process.
Govt explains delays in Kampala.
The permanent secretary of the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Mr Aggrey Kibenge, said Kampala had the highest number of beneficiaries and are affected by insufficient numbers of data entry clerks. Mr Kibenge said Kampala is supposed to compile a list of more than 150,000 people, and the data entry clerks were unable to upload all the data by yesterday.
He said Kampala Capital City Authority was initially supposed to compile the list of beneficiaries from all the five divisions, but failed, so the exercise had to be sent back to the divisions.
What they say...
Ben Byamukama, DJ.
I have not applied for it because I do not know how to access it. I used to earn between Shs800,000 and Shs1m before the lockdown. Right now I do not have anything. It can feed me for a few days.
Kazibwe Sadat, loader
I have not applied for the money because I do not know who is registering the people. If that money comes, it would at least push me for a few days if I consume Shs3,000 every day. I can also send my parents some of it.
Wilson Twijukye, taxi driver
I registered but my phone numbers are registered in different names. When they were registering us, they said they want the people whose name is registered with the sim card.
Alex Ssali, special hire driver.
I registered for it but I do not expect to receive the money. When government distributed food last year, we did not get any. I would have used the money to buy charcoal, beans, and posho to feed the family.
Rose Akumu, food vendor
I heard that when they reached Kitintale stage, they did not register anyone in the trading centre. Besides I forgot my national identity card in the village. I would have sent that money to my mother in Tororo who is looking after my three children.
Onesmus Byomugabe, bartender
I have not registered because I do not know where people are registering from. My former boss tries to support us once in a while with food and money whenever he has but it isn’t much.
Moses Haruna, barber
Government categorised barbers among the vulnerable groups. We are six working here but none of us has been registered. I do not know why they promised us the money in the first place because we did not ask for it.
David Ssenfuma, boda boda rider
I was registered. I have both the national identity card and my phone is also registered in my names, but from the news we are hearing, we are losing hope. I would have bought some soap, rice, charcoal, and beans.
Goretti Kizza, Spa employee
I registered last Friday and we were told that the money will be ready by Wednesday this week but I have not seen it. When it comes, I will use it to buy mostly food and charcoal to take us for another few days.
Margaret Nakimuli, Kitintale resident
I was registered three days ago and we were promised that the money will come either Wednesday or Thursday. But from the stories we are hearing on television and radio, excuses have become many. I need to feed my children.
Abdulaziz Nasir, car washer
We are six car washers working at Rizzy Jet Car Wash in Kitintale but none of us has been registered. We do not know where the registration is taking place. We are still waiting for it because at least it will help me offset my rent.
Teddy Namutebi, salon worker
I registered in Luzira on Tuesday and I was told the money will come but I do not know when. When it comes, I will use it to buy braids to support my business. My husband is a mechanic.
Harriet Nakisindi, food vendor
I registered but I cannot remember the day. I hope the money will come like it happened with the posho and beans last year. I can use it to buy posho and beans to feed my children.
Ali Luyungula gym Instructor
Since the first lockdown, I have not worked. Every day I go on the streets to meet friends who sometimes sympathise and give you some money. I was registered for the money on Tuesday but I do not know whether the money will come.
Alexander Matsiko, taxi conductor
I have no hope of getting the money. My phone and national identity card were stolen in Mukono before the lockdown. It would have helped me. I would be feeding on at least Shs2,000 a day until it is finished.
Dennis Byarugaba, cobler
I was registered in Kitintale. My phone is also registered. I hope the money will come. It will be able to push me for some days because these days getting customers is extremely difficult.
Beneficiaries AmountNumber of beneficiaries 501,107Received cash 53,000Data uploaded 128,075Data pending approval 75,075Missing data 373,032Cities clearedKampala 6Gulu 11,618Kira 9,302Lira 2,806Mukono 2,044Busia 1,162Masaka 3,232Mubende 5,350Mbale 2,884Kabale 4,381Mbarara 2,694