In the recent wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of African governments have stepped up the fight against the virus, seeking to cushion their citizens and economies against the pandemic that continues to take a toll on businesses.
Apart from seeking aid from international lenders, here is what some of the governments are doing.
The government of Mauritius unveiled an assistance scheme for the informal sector that covers the following sectors:
- Self-employed individuals will receive a financial support of 50% of their guaranteed income for the period until 15th April 2020
- Self-employed individuals in businesses for example hawkers, hairdressers, shops, casual workers, etc
- Self-employed individuals in business or self-employed casual workers whose total monthly income does not exceed $1,258 (50,000 Rs)
- Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with a turnover of up to $1.3 million to receive a 6 months suspension on capital repayments, and another 6 months suspension of interest payments to commercial banks
- Micro and Small Enterprises can apply for loan facilities through commercial banks or DBMs. with the latter disbursing up to $25,158 to eligible applicants
- Relief to Leasees of Rental Buildings
- Waiving of Fees for Market Stalls
Mauritius announced a partial lockdown for sanitation purposes on 19th March, followed by a total lockdown on 24th March 2020.
Ghana’s government announced the following measures:
- Government to cover all water bills for 3 months
- Health workers treating COVID-19 patients to receive 50% additional salary plus allowances
- All health workers to be exempted from paying tax for 3 months
Furthermore, the Government, in collaboration with the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), Business and Trade Associations and selected commercial and rural banks and other stakeholders to roll out a soft loan scheme of up to about $103 million. The loan scheme, with a repayment period of two years, will have a one year suspension of payments.
The government of Rwanda has made the following plans:
- Door-to-door distribution of food
- Provision of free water and electricity to its citizens
- Provision of free medical supplies.
Uganda has already started door-to-door distribution of food to 1.5 million urban poor people living in its capital, Kampala.
The state government of Nigeria has started distributing relief food in Lagos, saying it had budgeted for 200,000 households to receive food rations, translating to about 1.2 million people.
Additionally, Nigeria’s central bank announced a credit relief of $136.6 million to households, small and medium-sized enterprises, airline service providers, hotels, health care merchants and businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Botswana has announced a $168 million relief fund to assist businesses to pay workers’ salaries so that none gets laid off.
The government of Guinea has announced the following:
- No payment of rent for citizens until December 2020
- Government to cover water and electricity bills for the next 3 months
- Free public transport for the next three months
- Free pharmaceutical products and basic necessities