Senegal beefs up measures amid economic slowdown due to COVID-19

DAKAR (Xinhua) – Senegalese President Macky Sall on Friday announced measures to deal with the economic impact caused by the COVID-19 epidemic, as he predicted the country’s economic growth would drop from 6.8 per cent to less than three per cent.

“Sectors such as tourism, hotels, catering, transport, trade, culture, and public works, among others are badly affected. Our sustained economic growth over several years is brutally slowed and will drop from 6.8 per cent to less than three per cent,” Sall said in his speech to the nation on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the Independence of Senegal.

Facing the coronavirus emergency, Sall said he set up an Economic and Social Resilience Programme to strengthen the health system and support households, businesses and their employees.

The programme will provide the health sector with XOF64.4 billion to cover all expenses related to the response to COVID-19. The government will pay the electricity bills of some 975,522 households for six months, which would cost about XOF15.5 billion, and spend about XOF3 billion on the water bills of 670,000 households.

The government will allocate XOF69 billion to purchase food for one million eligible households, he added.

He said the government will safeguard macroeconomic and financial stability to support the private sector and maintain jobs through a liquidity injection program with fiscal and customs reduction measures.

The programme will guarantee the country’s supply of hydrocarbons, medical products, pharmaceuticals, and basic necessities, Sall said.

Senegal on Friday reported 12 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the country’s total to 207, among which 84 are imported cases.