Uganda Cuts Growth Outlook as Coronavirus Outbreak Hurts Tourism

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Uganda sees economic growth slowing to 5.2% to 5.7% in 2019-20 from an earlier forecast of 6% depending on the severity of the impact coronavirus pandemic, the Finance Ministry said.

While Uganda is yet to detect any cases of the virus, expansion in the 12 months through June will be hurt by global travel restrictions that will impact tourism, trade and industry, banking, remittances and foreign direct investment inflows, Finance Minister Matia Kasaija said in an emailed statement on Friday.

Exports are expected to decline in the last four months of the financial year, with imports dropping 44% in the period, the minister said without providing details.

“Supply chain disruptions are hampering trade, and this is expected to continue until the virus is contained at the global level,” he said. “Travel restrictions at the global level will also affect the flow of imports into the country leading to disruption in supply of inputs to the industry sector.”

Revenue collection could register an additional shortfall of 82.4 billion shillings ($21.5 million) in the last four months of the year and 187.6 billion shillings in the coming financial year, assuming the virus doesn’t enter Africa’s biggest coffee exporter, or is quickly contained, according to the statement.

The government already faces a financing gap of $100 million this fiscal year and $90 million in 2020-21 from revenue shortfalls and additional expenditure on health and fighting a locust invasion, the ministry said.

– Bloomberg

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