Germany supports Uganda against environmental degradation

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A man carries a sack of charcoal in Bujumbura, Hoima city. Charcoal burning has also contributed to forest degradation in Uganda. (Photo: Kazi-njema News).

The government of Germany has come out to support Uganda in the fight against environmental degradation and carbon emissions.

This is in response to reports that many forests were destroyed during the Covid-19 lockdown announced in March this year.

Reports say according to a survey conducted on the economic survival of Ugandans, many resorted to felling trees for either firewood or charcoal to eke out a living during that time.

It is also reported that there was a marked increase in agricultural practices especially by low income earners since people could not access their duty stations due to travel restrictions while others lost their jobs during that time.

To overcome this, the Germany Development Corporation (GIZ) is partnering with the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) to provide financial support to businesses involved in manufacturing and distributing solar energy and coo-stoves.

According to the corporation, the programme dubbed Covid-119 Economic Relief Fund for the off-grid solar and cook-stove sector will provide financial support to the beneficiaries to carry on with their daily activities including subsidising the employees’ salaries.

“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 installations for customers and covering companies’ expenditures,” GIZ says.

Adding: “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.

Training institutions and their staff will be among the beneficiaries so they can cope with crises like Covid-19 by enhancing their resilience.

Ms Brenda Biteete, the projects manager at the PSFU says staff salaries to be subsidised will be for those who were on the payroll by February 2020.

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 subsidised.

According to the Head of the Biomass Private Sector Support Component at GIZ in Uganda, Ms Victoria Butegwa, cook-stoves applicants will not include end-users.

Companies and institutions can apply for support in the range of EUR 15,000 ((Shs65m)) to EUR 100,000 (Shs438m).

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