IMF Approves Shs3.5t Loan for Uganda to Fight Covid
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved a 36-month arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) for Uganda in an amount equivalent to US$1 billion (about Shs3.5 trillion) to support the post-COVID-19 recovery and Uganda' plan to increase households' incomes and inclusive growth by fostering private sector development.
Approval of the ECF arrangement enables immediate disbursement of about US$258 million, usable for budget support, according to a Monday statement issued by the Fund.
"This follows Fund emergency support to Uganda under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) in May 2020 of SDR361 million (100 percent of quota or US$491.5 million, see Press Release No 20/206)," the statement issued by the Fund's press officer, Mr Andrew Kanyegirire reads in part
Acording to IMF, Uganda's economy was hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis.
"Decade-long gains in poverty reduction were reversed, fiscal balances have deteriorated, and pressures on external buffers have intensified. A mild recovery is underway in some sectors, with economic growth in FY 21/22 expected to reach 4.3 percent before returning to pre-pandemic rates of 6-7 percent in the medium term. The outlook remains highly uncertain, with risks tilted to the downside, including from a resurgence of tighter containment measures linked to higher COVID-19 positivity rates."
Uganda government's programme, enshrined in the third National Development Plan (NDPIII), is built around the principles of private sector-led inclusive growth and public sector reforms to strengthen governance and transparency. It envisages multi-year fiscal consolidation while increasing priority and high-quality infrastructure spending. The programme will include reforms to increase domestic revenue, foster public sector efficiency and strengthen governance while preparing the ground for sound management of oil revenues. The programme will strengthen the monetary policy and financial sectors frameworks while fostering development, including through financial inclusion.
At the conclusion of the Executive Board's discussion, Mr Tao Zhang, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, said: "Uganda's economy has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic, which reversed decade-long gains in poverty alleviation and opened up fiscal and external financing gaps. The authorities' program, supported by a new arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility, focuses on keeping public debt on a sustainable path while improving the composition of spending and advancing structural reforms to create space to finance private investment, foster growth and reduce poverty."