The impact of COVID-19 on Ugandan firms: Evidence from recent surveys and policy actions for supporting private sector recovery

  • This policy brief outlines key discussions from a policy seminar on the impact of COVID-19 on Uganda’s firms held on 28 January 2021 by the Ugandan Ministry of Finance’s Private Sector Development Unit and the International Growth Centre.
  • Researchers presented key findings from work exploring different impacts of the pandemic on Uganda’s economy.
  • The evidence shows that the majority of firms closed down over lockdown but have since re-opened, though are now operating below capacity. Firms have experienced a significant drop in demand, revenue, and profits, and encountered difficulties in accessing customers, inputs, and suppliers.
  • Employment and earnings also dropped significantly during lockdown – but not as much as firm revenues. The evidence also suggests gender plays a significant role, as female-owned business households suffered more with lockdown.
  • In terms of government support, firms and employees highlighted interest rate subsidies, cash transfers, and social assistance grants as key policies to support recovery, but there appears to be limited awareness of existing support programmes.