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Jumia Uganda launches mobile week

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Mr. Ron Kawamara, CEO Jumia Uganda

Mr. Ron Kawamara, the CEO Jumia Uganda addressing media at the Jumia Mobile Week launch held on Tuesday.

By Our Reporter

Jumia Uganda has launched the 2019 Mobile week, an annual online bonanza in which customers enjoy mega discounts on mobile phone devices.

Speaking at the launch ceremony held at Urban City Blue hotel on Tuesday, Mr. Ron Kawamara, CEO Jumia Uganda, revealed that mobile phones are the most popular item on the Jumia online store, both in terms of the number of items sold and in terms of the revenue it generates hence the decision to give it its own tier-one campaign.

“Through Mobile Week, we hope people can see that online shopping is safe and convenient. Our customers will be able to purchase products cheaply and faster with all the security guarantees such as insurance and warranty with also an option to freely return products within 7 days of shopping.” Ron Kawamara also noted.

The campaign which will run from April 8th to 21st, 2019 is expected to be the biggest yet with customers enjoying up to 60% on smartphones, feature phones and mobile phone accessories.

During the launch ceremony, they also released a white paper on mobile devices which showed that smartphone adoption on the continent was recorded at 36% penetration rate, equating to about 255 million smartphone devices. This was attributed to the reduction in the average price of smartphones with Chinese smartphone brands being predominant on the market.

According to the report, the average Ugandan consumer is also increasingly getting connected, with 42% of the population in Uganda now connected to the Internet (19 million). Mobile subscription penetration is at approximately 80%, with 25 million Ugandans owning a mobile device, a factor that has continued to shape and make the digital landscape competitive.

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How Judiciary Reduced Salaries, Laid off Redundant Workers to Manage shs600m Shortfall of Wage Bill

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By Reporter

The top management of the Judiciary headed by Chief Justice Bart Katureebe approved the proposal to reduce salaries with minor amendments of judicial officers and also lay off workers deemed weak and redundant as acknowledged by their supervisors.

The decision was made to manage a shortfall of shs 600 million, a wage bill for staff on local contracts which accumulated beyond the institution’s budget provision.

As a result of this decision, the affected workers have since rushed to social media influencers to cry foul and also malign the Permanent Secretary Pius Bigirimana as having powers to determine salaries at the Judiciary.

However, this website landed on minutes drafted by a taskforce of five highly skilled officials within the judiciary and later approved by the top administrators in relation to streamlining the financial position of the institution.

Late last year, it was established that the wage requirement for staff on local contracts was more than the budget provision by over shs 600 million because the funds meant for other activities were being used contrary, to the law.

The decision to constitute the panel of five experts was hinged on the fact that some contracts of staff were already running, fortunately expiring in the middle of the Financial Year therefore this problem would be solved by rationalizing contract renewals due at the end of December 2019.

It was anticipated that this would be achieved by not renewing contracts of officers who had various weaknesses as raised in the reports from their supervisors, and those who were deemed redundant as reported by seine courts.

The five experts on the taskforce include:

Maureen Kasande, the Undersecretary/Chairperson

Justice Boniface Wamala, Judge of the High Court/ member

Ayebare Tumwebaze, assistant registrar/ member

Mrs Tummwine Apophia, Principal HRO/ secretary

Sulaiman Hirome, principal assistant secretary/ member

Opolot Simon Peter, principal economist/ member

The Task Force was tasked to review the applications for contract renewal and recommend those who were suitable for re-appointment with the view of;

Recommending only those who had satisfactory recommendations from their supervisors, ensuring that we fit within the wage bill and the establishment structure, harmonizing contract staff salaries with those on permanent and pensionable terms and the Task force submitted its report and some of the recommendations related to this subject matter include the following:

Contracts of all Office Attendants and Process Servers not to be renewed except for special cases.

This was based on the fact that redundancies were reported by various offices in this category.

Besides there is a good number of officers in this category on permanent and pensionable terms.

Renewal of contracts for Research Officers who are not attached to any Justice/Judge to be pended.

Officers whose positions were not vacant on the structure not to be renewed. These included; one Communications Officer and three Clerks of Works

Officers who did not meet the minimum requirements for the jobs and did not qualify for any other available positions not to be renewed. These included: Three Copy Typists and Ten Court Clerks.

Despite the above recommendations which were hoped to reduce the Wage Bill, on analysis, it was established that there is still a shortfall of over UGX 400m.

It was therefore decided that since contract renewals can have new terms, the salaries be reduced to enable us fit within the budget.

However, with the reduced salaries the judiciary still has a shortfall of about UGX 70m.

Solomon Muyita, the Judiciary spokesperson earlier weighed in on the taskforce’s decisions saying:

“It’s no secret the Judiciary engages some staff on short-term Local Temporary Contracts every year and performance reviews are conducted upon expiry of the contracts for purposes of weeding out those that fall short of the job requirements.

I’m aware that over 400 out of 508 staff who re-applied for their contract renewals at the end of 2019 luckily got renewals on recommendation from an Adhoc- Committee comprising senior Judicial and Administration staff.

The Committee however, recommended the non-renewal of some contracts for various reasons, including under performance or indiscipline, and redundancy. All the affected were individually notified in writing.”

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NSSF collects over 8000 units of blood in national donation drive

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NSSF Managing Director Richard Byarugaba donates blood during the launch of this year's week-long NSSF blood donation drive.

NSSF Managing Director Richard Byarugaba donating blood at the recently concluded blood donation drive launch that took place at the NSSF Head Office at Workers House.

By Our Reporter

National Social Security Fund (NSSF) in the recently concluded 6-day blood drive managed to collect 8887 units of blood across the country, this was 88.8% of the set target of 10,000 units.

The blood donation centers around Kampala collected 4,031 units in total while the upcountry donation points managed to collect 4,856 units throughout the six-day campaign.

The top three upcountry districts that collected the highest units of blood were; Mbarara which collected 659 units, Masaka collected 535 units and Hoima which managed to collect 380 units of blood.

This year’s NSSF National Blood Donation Drive which was launched at their head offices at Workers House in Kampala ran under the theme “Stand Up for Life” from Monday 13th to Saturday 18th January 2020.

The NSSF Managing Director Richard Byarugaba during his remarks at the launch mentioned that their target this year was collecting 10,000 units of blood which is four thousand units higher than the previous year, where they successfully managed to hit and go above their 6,000 units target.

These units of blood that have been collected are going to relieve the Uganda Blood Bank which is the official blood supplier of blood in Uganda on the current blood shortage. The blood bank is always expected to have blood available for the different hospitals and health facilities nationwide that need an average of 1,250 units daily.

NSSF’s annual blood donation drive partnership with the Uganda Blood Transfusion services is a move that seeks to reduce the gap of blood shortage in the country during the months of December and January when school institutions are closed for the long holidays.

It is also a plea to the public countrywide to join hands for a greater cause by encouraging every eligible person in the public to adopt a culture where blood donation becomes part of their lives through donating regularly to save a life.

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Guinness Smooth officially launched in Uganda

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Guinness Smooth officially launched in Uganda

By Our Reporter

Uganda Breweries Limited introduced their new Guinness variant Guinness Smooth in a luxurious ceremony held at the Kampala Serena Hotel gardens on Saturday.

During the launch, the Guinness Global Master Brewer Peter Simpson who played a major role in the making of Guinness Smooth took the invited guests through the four Flavour Rooms that speak to the character of the new beer.

The rooms included the Bittersweet Room, the Bold Room, the Rich Room and the Refreshing Room where consumers were let in on the sight, flavour, feel and taste of the new beer.

They were taken through the perfect serve for a Guinness Smooth, tasting and appreciating the perfect balance of sweet (butterscotch and toffee flavours) and bitter, and also smelling the chocolatey-coffee aromas and rich notes from roasted barley.

Speaking to guests, Mr Simpson commended Ugandans’ love for the famous black liquid and couldn’t hide his excitement about people finally tasting a product that he has worked on with Ugandan brewers for a very long time.

“I cannot mention how proud I am that you all get to taste Guinness Smooth today. It is every brewer’s dream to see people taste his creation,” he said, before imploring guests to toast to Arthur Guinness who first brewed the world-renowned beer in 1759.

Sheebah entertains guests at the Guinness Smooth launch

Sheebah entertains guests at the Guinness Smooth launch.

UBL’s Marketing Director Juliana Kaggwa noted that people have different palates and Guinness Smooth is a variant that maintains the full-bodied character of Guinness, though with bitter-sweet undertones.

“Brands that don’t innovate don’t survive. 261 years and counting, this is the first innovation extension or variant of brand Guinness in Uganda. This right here is history in the making,” Juliana Kaggwa said at the event. “We are giving young vibrant millennials an opportunity to join the family of Guinness through a variant called Smooth. The brand is smooth and therefore easy on the tongue.”

The night was crowned with performances from Uganda’s very own soul star Maurice Kirya and Sheebah Karungi, before Deejay Mary Jo took over the turntables to keep the party going till late.

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