Traders are planning to stock beans instead of meat. Nervous town dwellers are preparing to boycott the villages while others are volunteering to work on Christmas day. Are you ready for the quietest festive season Uganda has ever experienced?
PIC: A vendor sells a Christmas tree
As the festive season draws closer, Lillian Mukisa, a bridal shop owner, is preparing for an unfamiliar Christmas season. The sells at her bridal shop that is located at Equatorial Mall in the heart of Kampala have been disappointing.
"There is no money! I am just going to sleep'', she says.
Julius Mayanja a boutique manager shares similar sentiments.
‘'I have nothing to spend. I am just going to stay home and chill'', he says in a troubled tone.
Oh well, it is understandable that the economy is tough. But you don't have to sleep and sulk. Here are some ideas to help you sail through.
1. Postpone Christmas
This comes highly recommended by our reader, Thomas Snider Ejotu.
"If the economy is too bad as it seems, let us postpone Christmas, after all it's a birthday celebration. Ladies will kill me for this,'' Ejotu posted on The New Vision Facebook page. We agree with you but we are not with you when the ladies kill you.
2. The more, the cheaper
This is not the time to be the family superman. It's time to bring all the family members together for the common cause of enjoying the festive season. Yes, even those who seem to have a phobia for spending.
"We have come together with five family members to save money'', reveals Geoffrey Ojok an Electrician. By the time the family breaks off for the holiday, each of them is expected to have Sh150, 000. So, there you go. The more contributions, the merrier!
3. To travel or not travel
Bus fare, fuel, happy relatives, angry relatives and relatives; this is just a brief list of the things you have to spend on when you to travel to the village. We understand that it is your opportunity to sit at the church front row and show off your achievements but this can wait for friendlier times.
4. Bargain and bargain
We don't know how to put this without sounding unfair. But we shall just go ahead anyway. The reality is that the sellers too have been hit hard and they need the money. So, feel free to haggle until you are sure you have the lowest price. Sellers I truly feel your pain but this is the Ugandan jungle and it is survival for the fittest.
5. Plan early
We are a nation of last minute planning. If we lived in Noah's time, we would probably miss the ark. But this is the time to embrace early planning to avoid the ‘Christmas prices'. For example if you plan to take children to the village, let them travel earlier before the bus fares go high. Why wait for Christmas Eve to shop in bulk yet you can buy bits by bits in advance?
6. Look out for the discounts
Don't be shy to look out for cheap offers. There are always offers that come with the Christmas season. Of course be careful with the ones that are too good to be true.
7. Clean house project
If you don't agree with all the above, you can use the festive season to do your chores. Clean, scrub and mop. The good news is that all the cockroaches and rats will migrate to your neigbours where there is merry making. That way you will not spend on insect side in January
The resilient but not so go good economy
If you are wondering why things are really not going well, you need to be in the same environment with Minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija. In a statement he made to parliament on Monday, he described the economy as sound and resilient.
However some of the lawmakers didn't seem to agree.
Quoting the closure of Crane bank, Uchumi and other Companies ,MP Muhamad Nsereko wondered how the Minister of Finance expects the country to grow when such things are happening.
MP Nandala Mafabi wondered whether some of the figures presented by the Minister reflected the true picture of the state of the economy. Nandala further warned that with the service sector dominated by foreign companies and infrastructure construction in the hands of foreigners, the country is sitting on a time bomb.