From my activities online, I notice that online presence in Uganda is low. One would expect more people online since most people are idle in their homes. But, it seems, the cost of maintaining online presence has proven unaffordable for a significant number of Ugandans and I think it’s understandable.
One needs between shillings 30,000 and shillings 50,000 to purchase a monthly mobile data package from Airtel or MTN. Many Ugandans are still dealing with the shock of a second national lockdown to limit spread of COVID-19. Many will rather use such money to buy posho, beans, rice and ensure there is food on the table. Who knows how long this lockdown might last?
In the first lockdown, Ugandans excitedly took to an online life because they had no idea how long this “holiday” would last. Not many expected that much of 2020 would be spent in a state of lockdown. This time round, there is more caution as 2021 seems shaping out to be a repeat of 2020. There is no guarantee that after the 42 days lockdown, life will return to “normal.”
So, most Ugandans are holding onto their money tight — spending only on the absolute essentials.
Further still, the fear of having a relative contract the severe COVID-19 whose treatment is costly. Every single Ugandan knows that you have to pay through the nose to liberate your loved one from the monster, COVID-19.
I surmise, 99.99% of families in Uganda don’t have many individuals who can single handedly foot medical bills worth at least shillings 20 million. So, when a relative happens to go down with severe COVID-19, a crisis family meeting must convene to raise funds.
With such a horrifying prospect, no sane person can spend on avoidable or luxurious goods and or services online.
Online traders — most especially those dealing in non-essential goods or services — will have to budget accordingly. Not a lot of cash will be coming their way even past the lockdown.