East Africa aims to cushion economic impact of Covid-19

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Finance ministers in East Africa have been highlighting measures designed to cushion the blow from the economic impacts of coronavirus.

The governments of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania all outlined their spending and taxation plans in budget announcements co-ordinated to happen on the same day.

Government spending for the three countries combined will amount to $52.6bn (£41.7bn).

In Kenya, the government has earmarked $500m to be spent on the tourism, manufacturing and agricultural sectors, which have all been affected by the measures brought in to contain the spread of Covid-19.

To help pay for government spending, Kenya’s Finance Minister Ukur Yatani has proposed a new tax on companies providing digital services, which could prove controversial.

Uganda unveiled plans to delay the payment of corporate and income tax to ease the burden on companies and employees.

Tanzania’s Finance Minister Philip Mpango stressed that the government will maintain its levels of spending but acknowledged that the pandemic will reduce economic growth from 6.9% to 5.5%.