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East Africa Rallies to Cushion Economic Blow

Governments in East Africa will ask for debt relief and implement new tax measures to free up money to help their economies through the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Finance ministers in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania on Thursday presented their budgets for the fiscal year that starts July 1, and while these three economies will continue to expand, growth will slow due to the pandemic and global and domestic measures to curb its spread. Even with revenue under pressure, spending will increase for all three countries. The region’s largest economy has lowered tax rates for corporate and personal income, turnover tax, value-added tax and provided tax relief to low income earners and employees. Uganda will clamp down on tax compliance and raise some levies to collect more revenue for the economy and also to boost local industries and protect them against cheap imports Tanzania is seeking as much as $272 million from the IMF’s Rapid Credit Facility and is in talks with bilateral creditors for debt relief, according to Finance Minister Philip Mpango.