The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Wednesday its executive board has approved a 491.5-million-U.S.-dollar disbursement to Uganda to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funds would be used to address the urgent balance-of-payments and fiscal needs in the east African country, the IMF said in a statement.

“It will help finance the health, social protection and macroeconomic stabilization measures, meet the urgent balance-of-payments and fiscal needs arising from the COVID-19 outbreak and catalyze additional support from the international community,” the statement said.

Uganda’s economy has been severely hit by the pandemic and sectors like tourism, transport, construction, manufacturing and agriculture, in particular, have suffered the most, according to the IMF.

“The weakening economic conditions emanating from the COVID-19 pandemic have put significant pressures on revenue collection, expenditure, reserves and the exchange rate, creating urgent large external and fiscal financing needs,” it said.

The pandemic, according to the IMF, has also exacerbated the challenges posed by heavy rains in early 2020 and the ongoing locust invasion.

Uganda currently has 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 55 recoveries since the outbreak was declared on March 21.

The country is currently under a lockdown, with borders entry points, banned public gathering, stopped private and public transport in a bid to stop the spread of the virus. Enditem

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