As we get closer to the end of the 42-day lockdown, it is imperative upon businesses to reflect on the challenges that have come with having to work remotely. It goes without saying that several businesses have been brought down on their knees, and worse off, some have had to close completely.
But what does a resilient business owner ought to do in times like these, to keep alive in the market? This, perhaps, is the million question that seeks for a million-dollar answer, for most any business at large.
Rajesh Chaplot ,the General Manager at Graphics Systems, and member of the Private Sector Foundation Uganda board, says, the previous lockdown affected mostly the earners of daily bread, so to speak; that Ugandan who lives by having to sell something every day.
Chaplot said that if there was anyone who learnt something from the first untimely lockdown, it ought to have been that Ugandan. He added that the biggest lesson for businesses from the previous lockdown should have been the difficulty of having to work remotely. The business mogul believes that without the use of internet, it became hard for business to get done, especially for those who had not yet appreciated the use internet.
“In this second wave of the virus and the partial lockdown, businesses should seriously get acquainted with E-commerce. It is the easiest way out, if someone is to survive this wave. Regardless of the business you engaged in, you can use this time to push your brand wider by constantly updating your customers and would-be customers. For business owners who are not yet acquainted with operating online, this lockdown could also be perfect time for you acquire these skills,” said Chaplot.
But for an entrepreneur who watched the National budget being read, it is rather scary to take this path, especially learning of the 12% tax on internet that was included in this year’s budget. Chaplot, therefore, thinks this tax needs to be revised.
About the tax, Chaplot thus said, “I have suggested to Private Sector Foundation Uganda that instead of curtailing digital transformation, government should tax the any social media companies that collect over 200m dollars from Uganda every year. This would in turn give birth to more tech companies in Uganda.”
For middle class and large scale businesses that have the capacity of employing a certain number of workers, Chaplot urges them to support their employees more than it happened in the previous lockdown.
“Laying off workers, especially if the business has been making some profits during this period of the pandemic, should not be an option. While some businesses have still not yet recovered from the first wave, it is effective for those that managed to keep afloat to retain and support their human resource because they are an integral part of the business, especially in times like these,” he added.
To ensure a faster process of containing the virus and bringing back normalcy in the country, Chaplot continued to advise government to put emphasis on importing cylinders from nearby countries.