GIZ says the program dubbed the COVID-19 Economic Relief Fund for the off-grid solar and cookstove sector will support beneficiaries with finances to run their daily activities, including subsidizing the salaries of the employees.
The Germany government is providing support to Uganda in the
fight environmental degradation and carbon emissions. This follows reports
that there was increased destruction of forests since the lockdown was
announced in March.
There are no updated deforestation figures for the period. But a survey on the economic survival of Ugandans shows that many resorted
to cutting down trees for firewood or charcoal for sale during the time. There was also a marked increase in agricultural activities
especially by low-income earners, as people could no longer access their
usual places of work due to travel restrictions, while others lost their jobs.
The Germany Development Corporation- GIZ is now partnering
with the Private Sector Foundation Uganda to financially support businesses involved in the
manufacture and distribution of solar energy and cookstoves. GIZ says the program dubbed the COVID-19 Economic Relief
Fund for the off-grid solar and cookstove sector will support beneficiaries with finances to run their daily activities, including subsidizing
the salaries of the employees.
“The project aims to
mitigate the loss of energy access in Ugandan households and the losses of energy
access companies, in times of COVID-19, by temporarily covering the payments of instalments for customers and covering companies’ expenditures,” says
GIZ. It is also intended to give
companies the opportunity and funding, to invest in their company
infrastructure for production and distribution as well as other areas that
support upgrading their mid-to-long-term resilience.
The fund will also cater for the training of the
beneficiaries and their staff on how to cope with crises like the pandemic, by
enhancing their resilience.
Brenda Biteete, a Projects Manager at the PSFU explains that the staff salaries to be subsidized
will be for those who were on the payroll by February 2020.
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The solar energy
beneficiaries will have to be those manufacturing and distributing, but also
the pay-go or higher purchase customers of solar systems especially for
institutions will have their prices subsidized.
However, for cookstoves,
the applicants will not include end-users, according to Victoria Butegwa, Head
of Component: Biomass Private Sector Support at GIZ in Uganda.
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institutions can apply for support in the range of EUR 15,000 to EUR
100,000 (65 million to
438 million Shillings).