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Hima Cement Scoops Platinum Honour At Export Awards

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Building solutions firm, Hima Cement has been recognized as the exporter of the year at the annual Presidential Exporters Awards gala held at Grand Imperial Hotel on January 18, 2018.

The awards, organized by the Uganda Export Promotions Bard (UEBP) are meant to recognize manufacturers that have earned the country a great deal of foreign exchange through exporting some of their locally made products.

Allan Ssemakula, the Acting Country CEO, Hima Cement says that the cement maker’s continued focus on providing customers with innovative propositions combined with effective cost management have enabled the firm cater to the diverse needs of the markets that they serve.

“We are very honored to receive this award from the exports board; a sign of recognition for the service we are offering the nation. As Hima Cement, we are committed to being the preferred provider of cement and concrete based building solutions in East Africa with a strong focus on customer experience,” he stated.

Ssemakula also added that Hima Cement clients benefit from the technical expertise and product innovation that are the hallmark of LafargeHolcim Group, the world leader in the building materials industry.

Hima Cement received the Platinum Award, making the cement maker the overall winner after exporting products worth USD56million in the regional markets.

A total of 50 companies were evaluated by UEPB, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Coopratives, the Private Sector Foundation Uganda and the Uganda Investment Authority in 18 product lines. The companies were assessed based on export performance, contribution towards Uganda’s socioeconomic development, product diversification and Corporate Social Responsibility.

Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, Uganda’s Prime Minister who officiated at the awards on behalf of the President, lauded the companies involved in the exports sector which he said was a sure way to earn the country much needed foreign exchange, jobs as well as improving the quality of lives.

He also encouraged exporters to work in groups and cooperatives in order to consolidate international trade gains such as sustainability of quality, quantity and timely delivery to international markets and also to continue investing in value addition.

Hima Cement offers a range of innovative and high-performance products that are highly adaptable. The cement firm lends itself to all kinds of projects like the Bujagali Hydro Power Project, Kampala-Entebbe Expressway, Karuma Dam, the new Jinja Nile Bridge among others. It currently serves its core markets of Uganda and Rwanda and exports to Eastern DRC and South Sudan.

East Africa is one of the fastest growing regions in the world with an average GDP growth of c7%; the construction sector is growing at a higher pace of over 10% per annum. Cement demand in Uganda and in the region is projected to remain strong supported by the resurgence in infrastructure development and key Mega Projects.

“We are very positive about the long-term prospects of the cement industry in Uganda and the region, and LafargeHolcim is keen to solidify its position in the region as the leading producer of building solutions providing its customers with innovative value adding propositions,” he explained.

The Platinum Award given to Hima Cement followed a thorough evaluation exercise held towards the close of 2017 that required firms to submit information on their export activities including revenue, marketing activities, innovations, among others.

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Local Business

Letshego Uganda offering repayment holiday to customers in wake of COVID-19 pandemic

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Giles Aijukwe, the CEO Letshego Uganda

Giles Aijukwe, the CEO Letshego Uganda

By Our Reporter

Letshego Uganda has rolled out a Repayment Holiday facility to its borrowers in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic that has gripped the world.

The repayment holiday involves giving customers a 3 month moratorium- meaning he/she/they (the borrowers) will not be required to pay their installments during that duration.

Different Heads of States, in their response to the pandemic, have implored the business community to augment government’ initiatives to offer financial relief to their customers and specifically lenders to offer repayment holidays and loan restructuring to their customers. It is in this regard that Letshego Uganda; a subsidiary of Letshego Holdings, a premier financial services company based in Botswana and with a footprint in 11 African countries has heeded to the call.

“The Repayment Holiday allows you to take some time out from the financial burden of repayments. It is important however, to note that this holiday mainly targets those customers whose businesses have been affected by Government Intervention measures during the current COVID-19 through business lockdown and closure for example those in sectors like- Education, Tourism, Transport, Leisure and Hospitality,” Aijukwe Giles, the CEO of Letshego elaborated.

The employees/clients that belong to these employers/industry sector will apply for the holiday and be approved based on the case presented. The biggest positive about a repayment holiday is that it relieves some pressure for a while. For a period of time, you have one less thing to worry about when considering outgoings.

“In line with their operational mandate, Letshego practices responsible lending and acts in a customer’s best interests, ensuring affordability, transparency of terms and conditions as well as supporting the borrower if they experience repayment difficulties. This means that by the time they have approved your loan application, they’ve made the effort to determine whether you can repay without substantial hardship,” Aijukwe affirmed.

Letshego has designed a simple application form to be signed by the customer; that will then be scanned and sent to the branch. Customers are also encouraged to use their digital and online platforms (WhatsApp and web application forms) to apply for these holidays. Furthermore, the Repayment Holiday is not only being extended to those in Kampala only but countrywide, across where we have a presence.

Aijukwe added, “A list of qualifying customers has been generated across our 45 branches countrywide and our branch teams are reaching out to them. Customers who are not yet contacted are encouraged to contact their respective branch managers and relationship officers to confirm if they qualify for the Repayment Holiday.”

Microfinance institutions were developed with the common purpose of contributing in the socio-economic changes of communities. As evidenced on numerous occasions, microfinances have exponentially uplifted the economic status of people by providing credit to individuals and skill based groups so that they are able to better their family and community stand.

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Entertainment News

StarTimes GO connects first customer

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By Reporter

With the launch of the integrated e-shopping platform StarTimes GO, the company is excited to have connected with the first customer, Sula, last weekend. After watching the TV programme StarTimes GO, Sula decided to buy a solar kit alongside with a 24″ Digital LED TV. She made a call to StarTimes to order the products and was quite pleased with the door to door delivery and installation. While receiving her order, Sula said, “I like that StarTimes can easily be accessed in terms of customer care services unlike some service providers. I was interested in buying the solar kit which helps during power blackout situations. It will also help us enjoy our family TV-watching time without worrying about unstable power supply. I was relieved to know that we can pay for the solar kit in instalments. This reduces on the financial burden. With StarTimes GO giving a special offer on plenty of products, we got a FREE two-year TV program bouquet for our solar kit!”

The captain of the car fleet for delivery, Charles, escorted the products to the customer’s home which is about 40km away from the city centre of Kampala. He said, “It is not quite convenient for a family living far away from the city centre to carry these products home. We hope that the customers can enjoy their shopping with StarTimes GO from the beginning to the end.”

Together with Charles, the whole team of delivery and installation are quite honoured to complete the mission for serving the first customer of StarTimes GO, among other customers who followed, especially when they see the smile of satisfaction on their faces.

Mr. Franklin Wang, the StarTimes CEO in Uganda remarked, “We have been thinking of the considerate services which make the digital life available to more people hence the e-shopping platform StarTimes GO. We appreciate the support and trust given by the customers; and thanks to our staff in call centre, delivery car fleet and installation team, the StarTimes GO is operating as we expected and will keep providing products of quality to the public.”

StarTimes GO has made it easier to shop digitally for the product you need. Book via StarTimes GO and enjoy great discounts be it on a decoder, TV or solar system. Order with StarTimes interactive e-shopping platform StarTimes GO at ugmall.startimestv.com or call 0701152863/ 0781962712 and your package will be delivered to you.

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CoronaVirus Uganda

Jibu Uganda donates 10,000 litres of drinking water to COVID-19 National Taskforce

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By Our Reporter

Jibu Uganda has made a donation of 10,000 litres of drinking water to the COVID-19 National Taskforce. The donation comes in the form of 2,000 bottles of 5L packaged drinking water.

According to Daniel Komunda, the Country Director of Jibu Uganda, the donation will go a long way in providing safe drinking water for vulnerable communities and the front line health workers.

“We are proud to support our government in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic, and are humbled to provide safe drinking water for distribution to vulnerable communities and essential workers who are at highest risk during this crisis.” Daniel Komunda said.

Jibu Uganda manages a network of 30 locally-owned drinking water franchises in Kampala, and in 11 other major towns across the regions of Uganda.

Komunda also noted that all Jibu shops across the country have increased their delivery capabilities during the lockdown, and have been offering free delivery and other support services to help customers remain safe at home.

Established in 2014, Jibu Uganda is a social enterprise that capitalizes, equips and trains local entrepreneurs to operate successful franchises designed to serve local communities with radically affordable, high-quality necessities.

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Local Business

MTN Uganda hands over Ramadan food packages to Uganda Police and Muslim teachers

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By Our Reporter

In a Ramadan drive that underscores the long standing relationship between MTN Uganda and the Muslim community spanning, the telecom giant has delivered food items among other alms to the Muslims in the Uganda police force and the Uganda Muslim teachers’ association.

The items were handed over at the Nsambya police barracks and the Kibuli Muslim Teachers’ College respectively on Thursday.

Ibrahim Kagolola, the RCC Mankindye on behalf of the COVID task force, received the donation and later handed over to Omoding David Deputy director counter terrorism police who was representing the IGP.

“I thank MTN for remembering the police during Ramadan. We don’t take this generosity for granted,” said Omoding David while receiving the food packages on behalf of Uganda Police.

While handing over to the police, Ismail Hamwada Manager work force planning MTN said MTN in partnership with Salaam Foundation has always donated to Muslim communities during Ramadhan.

“This time round we are happy to be giving back to the police. As we fast and seek Allah, we hope that this donation will go a long way when breaking fast,” Hamwada said.

This year’s handovers started this week on Wednesday with Old Kampala mosque and Kibuli mosque and will go in for the entire fasting period, with the guidance of the National task force against COVID19 due to the situation presented by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The food items/alms that include sugar, rice, posho, cooking oil, beans, bar soap for hand washing and wheat flour will be distributed to the vulnerable communities especially in the areas of Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono district. MTN will be working with Salaam Foundation to reach out to the different communities during the fasting period.

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