How is the Covid-19 cash relief calculated?

Tongues are wagging in our neighbourhood about the feasibility of the proposed Covid-19 lock down cash relief via mobile money. Some are weary about the implications of one’s mobile phone number being registered so as to receive assistance through it.

After all, mobile phone numbers are tied to National Identification Numbers, bank accounts, and other sensitive personal facets.

Some are insinuating that vulnerable persons may shy away from accessing help via mobile phones, in order to avoid their personal data being captured and potentially be misused in the future. But, that is a story for another day.

The question of how those making the determination are going to arrive at the right amount of cash to give as relief aid, is the more intriguing now. Are they making scientific calculations based on empirical data, for example, that is resident with the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS)?

Indeed, are they basing on the most recent calculations of Uganda’s poverty line by UBOS?

Two years ago, as I was preparing to conduct a training workshop on understanding poverty in rural Uganda, I found a very useful publication by the John Paul II Justice & Peace Centre, titled:

“The Kampala Basic Needs Basket – Cost of a Basic Needs Basket in Six Informal Settlements.”

In that publication, was explained how a poverty line is calculated, accompanied with useful information on the cost of basic needs for Kampala thus:

Obviously, this is old data, but we can use it as a basis to infer that if the costs then were Ug. shs. 361,700; using what we know about one food item, sugar, for example, the likely cost of the Kampala basic needs basket is now at least double that of 2007, at Ug. shs. 723,400.

Is it realistic for us to expect the government to pay each beneficiary household, over seven hundred thousand shillings, which is much more than it pays primary and secondary school teachers as salary per month?

How many beneficiaries will get that cash bonaza?

Let us wait and see if we are mistaken that it is smells fishy.

2 responses to “How is the Covid-19 cash relief calculated?”

  1. It may not be realistic because the operational costs like transport and the production industries has been affected leading to an increased cost of production and low demands which will lead to a drop in tax collection, and when there is a drop in tax collection the government will not be able to facilitate all the sectors within the government like educational, health etc including the bonaza due the increase in the number of households and increase in members of those households unless there will be another source of income that may not be revenue collected by the government from the local people. But also it’s sustainability may not be realistic in case there will be another source of income.


    • But how is the calculation being made to determine how much per household? Even before you decide the beneficiaries. Please share some more on your learning of the food basket calculations and of the calculations for the basic necessities which are then used to determine the poverty line. Do you think the Prime Minister’s Office is taking such calculations into consideration?


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