A new survey has established that vulnerable households have reported that a decline in income, increase in the cost of living and loss of jobs between February 2020 and May 2021 due to Covid-19. The survey was conducted on a sample of 2, 053 households from three districts of Kigali City; Gasabo, Nyarugenge and Kicukiro as well as Huye, Muhanga, Musanze, Rubavu, Rusizi, Nyagatare Districts in secondary cities. Jean Baptiste Nsengiyumva, the Senior Research Fellow said that the survey was aimed at availing relevant information to policy makers on the impact of Covid-19 on vulnerable households and businesses and also generate and propose policy solutions to the challenges faced by vulnerable households and businesses. The survey found that the households’ financial capacity reduced by 38 per cent in general due to Covid-19 impact which reduced household consumption by 24 per cent. At least 62 per cent of the respondents reported decline in income, 58 per cent reported an increase in the cost of living while 50 per cent reported loss of jobs. Households in the districts of Rusizi, Rubavu and Nyarugenge were the most affected by Covid-19. This is based on the fact that Covid-19 prevention measures were tightened to close borders while in Kigali Nyarugenge, there were many business activities that were closed. According to the survey, income of Female led Households earning Rwf16,800 and above decreased significantly between February 2020 and May 2021. “There was declining in expenditures on both food and non-food items. Quality of life had been highly impacted and Female headed households were most negatively impacted by Covid-19,” Nsengiyumva said. He noted that the analysis indicates that all the cities had a decline in average income of households between February 2020 and May 2021 and that the differences are significant. The survey indicates that 17 per cent of the respondents reported Covid-19 negative impact on mental health. Could the affected benefit from 2nd phase of the recovery fund? Last week, a US$ 250 million fund was launched to further support economic recovery through increased access to finance for businesses affected by Covid-19 pandemic. The recovery fund will also provide loans to businesses which experienced the negative impact of the pandemic on their operations, proven by at least 20 percent reduction in the last 12 months. It will also support Made in Rwanda priority sectors in manufacturing; construction material, agro processing, textiles and light manufacturing. The fund‘s second phase follows the Rwf100 billion fund launched in June 2020, which benefited more than 3,000 small businesses. The Economic Recovery Fund was created to support businesses highly impacted by the Covid-19 crisis so they could survive, restart production, and safeguard employment. The senior researcher Nsengiyumva said that most of the vulnerable households affected by Covid-19 in Kigali and secondary cities would like to benefit from support, particularly the improvement of access to Finance and support for people who can’t work. “The affected households need capital to resume income generating businesses they were doing because this was affected during Covid-19 especially lockdowns,” he said.