Ethiopia’s parliament on Friday approved a supplementary budget worth 48.56 billion birr ($1.43 billion) for the financial year ending July to help the economy weather the impact from the novel coronavirus.
Authorities have put in place several measures to curb the spread of the virus including banning public gatherings, closing schools and borders which have hurt economic activity.
“The economy is being highly impacted due to corona and the government have to assist,” Finance Minister Ahmed Shide told lawmakers.
He said 30 million people in the country more than 110 million now needed humanitarian assistance as result of economic disruptions triggered by the coronavirus outbreak.
The Horn of Africa country has recorded 831 cases of COVID-19 and seven deaths.
Shide said the money in the supplementary budget will be used to provide humanitarian assistance and to buy medical supplies to help in the fight against COVID-19.
A document from Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office presented to parliament showed Ethiopia’s economy is now expected to grow by 5-6% in 2019/2020 which ends July 7 from a previous forecast of 9%.
The supplementary budget will be funded with a mix of external and domestic loans, Ahmed said.