Here are Dr. Kiiza Beisgye’s socio-economic proposals that we feel are critical for discussion and implementation during the Coronavirus pandemic.
1. Deploy doctors (including UPDF) to areas where they are most needed especially those which have poor access to healthcare systems.
2. Declare centres in all the districts where people who need support can get it, and where support is sent to help the vulnerable to maintain their health to fight disease.
3. Set up special health centres where those who are suspected to be infected with the Coronavirus disease can access services.
4. Provide management procedures for crowded areas like markets. Open up temporary markets in less congested areas and facilitated with hygiene materials.
5. We must look at income which is going to collapse for many people. Many will lose income. Special measures should be made to safeguard people’s incomes and businesses.
6. Optimally use the country’s reserves to support citizens to get out of tough times.
7. All means of reducing interests on loans must be immediately considered. The Central Bank must take lead role in this including reducing its own lending rate.
8. Measures must be put in place to restructure existing loans and stop recalling loans during the period of the pandemic.
9. Central, popular and social call to landlords to restructure rent obligations on tenants and to avoid evicting tenants who are unable to meet their rent obligations during this period.
10. Tax waivers on businesses that are vulnerable because Coronavirus outbreak like Tourism industry and transport industry (as we move towards lockdown). Efforts must be put in place to cause tax relief and business support to help them survive the crisis.
11. Lastly, we need to support each other out of compassion. Let’s be there for each other, defend each other even where there will be less state intervention and let comradeship thrive for survival.