By Alvin Muhimbura

As the old adage goes; “For every negative event contains within it the seed of an equal or greater benefit-you just need to look for it”, so is the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic that has left thousands dead, hundreds of thousands infected and millions running for their dear lives.

This situation has left me wondering and seriously thinking about personal, community and career issues.

Disclaimer: I don’t claim to be a financial adviser, industrial phycologist or a family counselor. Therefore the opinions expressed herein are based on research, personal experience and observations.

My submissions are fourfold:

Businesses
I can authoritatively state that over 90% of businesses are in total lockdown. But one wonders why in this era of internet most businesses had not yet adopted to this change? For some businesses mainly small ones, it is understandable, may be they are still startups and growing but for big organizations, I simply cannot comprehend this fact.
With apps like zoom and skype interviews, meetings and workshops can be organized. The other day to day company activities like reports, accountabilities and requisitions can be submitted via the email or intranet which also provides for online approvals.
With technology it should have remained business as usual especially in the services sector. One argues that Ugandans are not disciplined to work from home and still deliver on time. I agree but what better choice do we have at the moment? Better to try it out and fail than be in total lockdown.
This pandemic has exposed our businesses badly and it leaves us with a lot of questions to ponder. Hopefully, lessons have been learned during this crisis and going forward- businesses will be 21st century compliant.

Personal finance
It is true that a big number of Ugandans live on hand to mouth economy. whereas this is factual, it also reveals an interesting- if not shocking statistic that Ugandans don’t save. I know some of you are going to crucify me for this statement because you think you are earning very little money but I highly recommend you banish the idea.
We have read about owino market women (and so many other saving groups) who save as low as UGX 1000 daily and overtime they have acquired land and constructed their own houses from that meager daily saving. Without being cocky, if you are having worries on how you will feed yourself or your family in these 14 days of lockdown especially if you have been working for more than a year, it is time to review your saving habits and/or investment plans.
As rightfully put, what you earn doesn’t matter when it comes to saving and investment.

It is what you can save and invest that matters. For example, if someone earns UGX 3,000,000 a month and spends it all and another person earns UGX 250,000, spends UGX 200,000, saves and or invests UGX 50,000 per month; overtime, the latter will financially secure his/her future.
Such calamities will keep happening in our lives from time to time. Not to think so is naïve.
We are therefore better off preparing for the worst and hope it never happens.

 

Family
We have parents who have “raised” Children that have even completed University education but the parent doesn’t even know their children’s favorite color, the games they love to play or have never even gone through their books to see what they learn at school (especially lower classes). The best they have done is signoff homework (most of the time without even reading through) and don’t be shocked if you ask a parent and they don’t even know what class their child is (I know someone who doesn’t).
Well I know most of you will say “as long as they have fees, accommodation, medical and food- that is all that matters”. You can say all you want but good parenting calls for bonding, talking and listen to them, understanding their lives and reasoning at their level so that they can easily open up to you on the various aspects of their lives.
I will not go into relationships with our spouses, this we might argue until ‘cows come back home’- so I will let it slide under the mat for now but it is an area we need to thoughtfully look into.

 

Personal hygiene
I wonder how many people do actually wash their hands every time they visit a toilet/latrine and have gone ahead to inculcate these simple – yet – so basic practices into children??
if we are to be honest, the numbers are extremely low. No wonder nature has twisted our arms so viciously that lives have been lost in the process. This was a very uncouth reminder that now every home, office, shop etc in the community is emphasising hand washing with water and soap or sanitizing frequently.
Fellow countrymen, did people have to die first before we implement these basic health practices?? If we did this habitually, am confident this pandemic would have no chance whatsoever.

 

Mid-course adjustments
Like on any voyage, the Captain will set the course of sail but will continuously do adjustments to make sure the ship doesn’t miss the intended destination.
Fellow country men and women, let us take advantage of this lockdown to recharge our batteries, re-evaluate ourselves on the four fronts earlier discussed and make necessary adjustments to make our homes, work places and Country a better place.

The authored can be reached on; amuhimbura@nhcc.co.ug

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