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The January dime freeze

By Vision Reporter

Added 8th January 2008 03:00 AM

THE big freeze has set in and it has nothing to do with the fuel crisis or the onset of winter abroad. The big freeze is all about finances and the hatred for the people in payroll who decreed that December salaries will be paid before Christmas and not at the end of the month as is the norm with al

THE big freeze has set in and it has nothing to do with the fuel crisis or the onset of winter abroad. The big freeze is all about finances and the hatred for the people in payroll who decreed that December salaries will be paid before Christmas and not at the end of the month as is the norm with al

By Timothy Bukumunhe

THE big freeze has set in and it has nothing to do with the fuel crisis or the onset of winter abroad. The big freeze is all about finances and the hatred for the people in payroll who decreed that December salaries will be paid before Christmas and not at the end of the month as is the norm with all other months.

“My first job after graduating was with utl” says engineer Steven. “I was lucky that I knew somebody in utl who knew somebody who could get me a job.

Three months after campus and I had a job. I did not have to walk the streets, which was a relief. It was August when I started.

As it was my first job, I expected to be paid at the end of every month and duly was. At the end of November, I got paid, then shortly before Christmas when I went to the ATM my balance was higher than expected.

I thought the bank had credited my account by mistake but rather than tell them, I kept quiet about it. Two days later and the cash was still there and with the devil urging me on, I withdrew it and went on a spending spree. Seeing I got no call from the bank, I knew I had gotten away with it.”

“Towards the end of December, I began to look forward to my salary. It never came. By January 4, with no pay, I was forced to call payroll. Payroll says I was paid and advised me to consult the bank. At the bank, they also acknowledged receiving my December salary which was paid shortly before Christmas. It soon dawned on me that the money I had ‘stolen’ from my account was my own money! January was a bleak month for me.

January is a tight month and when it comes to going out for a drink after work, the kafunda’s reign. People do not so to Sheraton, Rock Bar or Just Kicking.

They prefer to drink closer to home, in that bar where the owner knows them that when it comes to payment, you do not ask for the ‘bill’ but for the ‘book’. They ask for the book because that is where ‘payment’ will be made until it is cleared at the end of January.

It is also said that January is the month to buy a cheap car because everybody is on the look out for fast cash. Fast cash for school fees, rent and other utilities.

Says Patrick from a Bukoto-based firm. “It is really embarrassing that between the end of November to the end of January, my ATM card only registers three times. There was a time when things were tight and I was down to 15k.

To make things even worse, I had misplaced my ATM which called for a trip to the bank. Armed with cheque book, written out for 15k the girl behind the counter asked me if I was closing the account.

Of course I was not, but she duly reminded me I had to leave 10k in the account. She could sense my embarrassment as I wrote out a new cheque for 5k, but soothed me by saying: “Hey don’t worry it is January. Even I am dead broke and yet everyday, I am surrounded by millions of cash!”

The January dime freeze

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