UBOS: Greater than 20% of Ugandan households borrowed cash throughout Covid-19

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Every fifth household in Uganda has had to borrow money since March 2020 to meet the COVID-19 emergency, a new report found.

The results showed that just over 20 percent of households had to take out loans, regardless of whether they lived in urban or rural areas. This underlines the far-reaching effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has so far killed over 100 people in Uganda.

Interestingly, households in the poorest quintile were the least likely to borrow money.

At the regional level, the survey showed that households from the regions East (36%) and Central (27%) are more likely to borrow money. Households in the western region are the least likely to borrow money (8%).

These are some of the results of the second round of the Uganda Radio Frequency Telephone Survey on COVID-19 (UHFPS) ​​conducted in July / August 2020.

In June 2020, the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), with the support of the World Bank, officially launched the HFPS to track the effects of the pandemic on a monthly basis over a period of 12 months.

The aim of the survey was to re-contact the entire sample of households interviewed during the 2019/20 Uganda National Panel Survey (UNPS) round that had phone numbers for at least one household member or reference person.

The first round (baseline) of the survey was carried out from June 3rd to 20th and the second round between July 31st and August 21st, 2020.

Of the 2,421 households addressed, 2,227 households were surveyed in round 1, and 2,199 of these were questioned in round 2, which corresponds to a response rate of 99 percent between the rounds.

unemployment

According to the survey, the main reasons for borrowing ranged from employment shocks to loss of support from family or neighbors.

“Those who had to borrow to deal with COVID-19 emergencies were asked why they had to do so,” the report said Chimpanzee reports reads partially.

“The majority of households had to take out loans (27%) because they could not get support from family or neighbors.”

Several reasons were linked to the situation in the labor market and the overall economy.

About 18 percent of respondents said the store was closing, 24 percent said they were unable to sell products, and 25 percent said sales were down.

Measures to contain Covid-19 such as travel restrictions, public gatherings, closings of businesses and schools have had a serious impact on the economy and people’s livelihoods.

The World Bank said an estimated 3.15 million could fall deeper into poverty, adding to the 8.7 million people Ugandans currently live below the poverty line.

The UBOS survey found that “a drop in sales was a particularly important reason in the central region, among the wealthiest top quintile and city dwellers”.

However, the inability to sell products was a major cause in the northern region, among rural residents and the poorest households.

Business closures were most important among urban dwellers and the richest households in the western region. In the eastern region, the main reason was failure to receive money from family or neighbors.

Loans from friends, relatives and neighbors were the main source of credit after March 2020, especially among rural residents and the poorest households.

Access to credit from formal financial institutions such as commercial banks and credit institutions has remained quite limited.

Only 12 percent of households used this source, and access was much higher for city dwellers and those in the richest quintile.

In contrast, rural households and the poorest were more likely to borrow from savings groups / credit associations and friends and neighbors.

payment

The same report noted that two-thirds of households were concerned about repayment of borrowed money within the repayment period, with the poorest and most rural residents being more concerned.

The respondents were asked whether they feared not being able to pay any money within the repayment period.

Almost 70 percent of respondents were very worried or concerned about getting money back on time. This proportion was somewhat higher in rural households (70%) than in urban households (62%); and among the poorest households from the bottom 20 percent of the population (79%) compared to the richest households from the top quintile (62%).

The support of the safety net has changed in the rounds from the predominant food aid in the first round to non-food transfers in the second round.

Many urban households said they received food aid in the first round after the food was distributed mainly against Kampala after March 20. About 9 percent of households said they were receiving food aid.

During the second round from July to August, in which questions about receiving social assistance have been asked since the last interview in June, the proportion of households receiving food aid fell to around 2 percent.

However, many households reported receiving benefits in kind in the form of masks, mosquito nets and soap (16%). The highest proportions of households receiving benefits in kind without food aid were observed in rural areas (18%), the poorest quintile (20%) and the northern region (26%).

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