On Sunday, the Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja said the government will this time round not be distributing food relief but rather use mobile money to deliver cash to vulnerable people who are affected by the second lockdown.
The Prime Minister said they had ditched food distribution which was last year marred by corruption, and instead settled for cash and vouchers to the vulnerable.
“We have agreed to have a direct payment method and voucher system to provide assistance to the vulnerable people. We shall use mobile money,” Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanjja told journalists on Sunday.
While announcing the government’s COVID-19 relief plan at the Office of the Prime Minister on Sunday, Nabbanja said this time government will not give out food packages.
“After the COVID-19 Taskforce meeting, we have agreed and decided that any support that will be provided to the persons most affected by the lockdown measures will be through cash tokens and not physical food distribution,” Nabbanja said.
During the first lockdown in April last year, the government distributed food to vulnerable groups of up to 1.5 million people in areas of Kampala and Wakiso.
The exercise was however termed as ‘slow and inconsistent.’
Official figures from the Office of the Prime Minister show that at least 855,281 residents in Kampala who desperately need food were served, but Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago said that this was not true.
Ugandans on social media have now urged the newly vetted prime minister Nabbanja to make sure that this time, the process is as transparent as it possibly could.
The Center for Law and Emerging Economies said in a tweet that distributing relief via mobile money would be efficient if done fairly.
“Cash relief distribution via Mobile Money would be efficient, cost and time saving but has 2 drawbacks: 1. Assumes fairness and transparency in selection criteria of beneficiaries; 2. Assumes all beneficiaries have both MM registered line and NIN. These are big assumptions.”
She noted that they will use National Identification and Registration Authority(NIRA) lists and local council chairmen to identify the eligible Ugandans for Covid relief.