E-Dialogue on Promoting Responsible Business for Economic Recovery
With coronavirus (Covid-19) hitting the globe, the government of Uganda through Presidential and Ministry of health directives put in place measures to curb down the spread of the pandemic. Significant of these was the total lock down of non-essential services in the country—in effect leading to a number of business enterprises closing up and others maintaining operations with stringent adjustments. Whereas some of the businesses have been able to maintain a workforce during the lockdown, many have had to make concessions in their operations including reduction of working hours, forced and unpaid leave and salary reductions among others.
With the phased opening of the economy, many businesses are stretched with operation costs, rental arrears and employee relations with the reality of the new economic situation. Trade has declined as a result of the public health measures to curb the spread of the pandemic. Indeed, this has had a toll on the revenue generation in the country. The informal sector is still greatly affected as the increased cost of production and thus grappling with continued operations. The huge impact of Covid-19 on business operations is ripe ground for businesses to lessen on the adherence to human rights standards including abuse of labour rights, environmental degradation, and unethical acts in the chain of production among others.
With the foregoing, the Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (ISER) is organizing an E-Dialogue focused on the promotion of responsible business for economic recovery during and after Covid-19 with a particular emphasis on the need for an economic stimulus that protects small and medium enterprises and by extension offers labour protections to employees. The dialogue shall also interrogate the need to fast track the national action plan on business and human rights, respect for the environment in the chain of production and promote the corporate responsibility to respect human rights.