Virus Pandemic Expected to Push 15 Million Ethiopians to Seek Handouts: Minister

By Staff Reporter

Ahmed-Shide-budget-virusMay 31, 2020 (Ezega.com) -- The Ethiopian House of People Representatives on Friday unanimously approved over 48 billion Birr as a supplementary budget to address the impacts coronavirus pandemic in the country.

Addressing the House of Peoples Representatives, Minister of Finance Ahmed Shide said additional 15 million Ethiopians are forecast to require emergency food aid due to the spread of coronavirus.

Hence, the minister said 48.3 billion Birr supplementary budget is required to deal with the economic impact of the pandemic and 38 billion Birr of the budget would go to support 30 million emergency food recipients.

According to the minister, 28.3 billion Birr will be raised from external sources and 20 billion Birr from local sources, including through the sale of Treasury bills.

Other than COVID-19 pandemic, the increase in the number of Ethiopians who need food aid is due to drought and shortage of water in Somali regional state, failed rains in Oromia and Amhara states, and infestation of desert locust in Afar, Somali, Amhara, Oromia, Tigray, and SNNPR states.

It is to be recalled that the Council of Ministers, in its 79th regular session last year, approved more than 27 billion Birr as an additional budget for this fiscal year.

The supplementary budget was approved as the country confirmed a record of 137 COVID-19 cases out of 5,015 samples tested on Friday.

All the new cases are Ethiopians with an age range from 4 to 75 years old, and 86 of them are male and the remaining 51 are female, Dr. Lia Taddess Minister of Health disclosed.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed stressed the need to increase testing capacity as the country’s COVID-19 confirmed cases hit nearly 1000.

Ethiopia has so far confirmed 968 cases of COVID-19, discharged 197 recoveries, and 8 deaths out of more than 101,000 total laboratory tests since mid-March 2020.

The country’s testing capacity against COVID-19 has increased to more than 5000 per day, from less 1000 two months ago.

The rate of cases is increasing and 67% of the country’s total confirmed cases are from the capital Addis Ababa, thereby indicating that the virus in on spread within the communities, the country’s Minister of Health, Dr. Lia Tadesse said in a relevant meeting.

She said as part of the efforts to prevent the spread of the virus more than 700 teams of health experts were deployed across the country to hold contact tracing, besides a door-to-door screening and surveillance campaign.

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