A gorilla eats leaves in the jungle in Uganda/Getty
Uganda’s tourism players in the private sector will be happy to learn that Government through Ministry of Tourism has negotiated a 6m Euro (Shs25bn) stimulus package from the European Union (EU) aimed at helping private players in the tourism in the post lockdown operations.
This has been revealed by Doreen Katusiime, the accounting officer of the Ministry while interfacing with MPs on Public Accounts Committee this morning.
Katusiime presented a statement on the impact of COVID 19 on the sector prior to discussing audit queries.
She noted that the tourism sector has been hit hard by the COVID-19 induced lockdown and private facilities will have great difficulty reopening.
The discussion over a stimulus for the sector was kick started by the Deputy Chairperson of the Committee, Okin Ojara, who queried why the sector never received any funds from the COVID 19 supplementary budget that was approved by Parliament.
He noted that in the light of new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for hotels and lodges, funds are required to enable these facilities to weather the harsh economic times.
Katusiime concurred that the sector is majorly private sector led and liquidity problems that the private tourism facilities are likely to face will be compounded by the new SOPs that were launched last week.
She disclosed that the EU stimulus package will be placed in the Uganda Development Bank (UCDA) for the private sector to borrow at a discounted rate of 8%.
Regarding government operations, Katusiime stated that out of a total budget of 197bn for the sector 75% is generated internally through agencies like Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre (UWEC) whose activities have been severely curtailed.