Geoffrey Oloya, a boda-boda rider from Gulu, today morning became the first beneficiary of the government COVID-19 relief cash support to vulnerable Ugandans severely affected by the lockdown.
The disbursement exercise kicked off Thursday morning at an event in Kampala, and officiated by the Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja.
Flanked by cabinet ministers and other government officials, Prime Minister randomly sampled from a list of beneficiaries whose COVID-19 relief cash had been sent to either their Mobile Money accounts as part of the launch of the exercise which targets over 500,000 households.
“This is the Prime Minister of Uganda. Have you received the money?” Nabbanja asked before she received a joyful response from Oloya “I have received shs102,425 right honorable,”
However, a number of other phone numbers sampled were switched off while others, because of network problems, they could not be reached.
Speaking at the function, Nabbanja said she hopes the exercise will move on smoothly.
“I believe 50% of Ugandans will receive their money today and others will receive as we go along. We shall tell you when the rest of Ugandans will get. On behalf of government as Prime Minister of Uganda, I declare this exercise of COVID-19 relief fund launched,” she said.
The exercise which a section of Ugandans deem to have been hastily managed delayed due to various challenges including failure to identify eligible beneficiaries with others contending that lower council leaders were best suited for the job.
Government however maintained that Town Clerks should take charge of the process and local leaders assist in verification of would-be beneficiaries. This has resulted into delays with only few districts cleared for disbursement at the time of the launch.
By Wednesday afternoon, only Entebbe, Kira and Gulu municipalities had been able to partially finish the process and submitted part of the lists of their beneficiaries. The Ministry of Gender on Wednesday said that whereas some areas are still undertaking validation of the lists, disbursement will commence today for those that have submitted lists to the ministry.
Under the arrangement, 16 categories including barmen, DJs, barmaids, waiters, waitresses and bouncers, gym and restaurant workers, food vendors in tax, bus parks and arcades, musicians, comedians, producers, promoters, salon and massage parlor employees, teachers and support staff in both government and private schools but are not on payroll, car washers, slum dwellers, street vendors, shoe shiners, orphans and vulnerable children will receive cash support.