How to handle the "Shutdown"

Eight new cases of Corona Virus have been confirmed in Uganda. The country has already locked its borders, suspended all flights, and shut down schools and churches.

There has been a stampede on markets. As a result food prices are escalating and essential commodities are running out. Our neighbors are implementing full national shutdowns including banning all public transportation and mandating everyone to stay at home. Uganda is likely to follow suit as our health system is not equipped to handle a full blown outbreak.

Uganda is largely a subsistence economy. Most people earn and survive on a daily income. With a full shutdown businesses and individuals are going to suffer. The government does not have the budget to sustain an entire population for 3 weeks or so.

Here are some ideas to help you get through the tough times ahead of us:

  1. Stay at home for as long as you can. Put in place some hand washing facilities at home. Limit visits from anyone during this period. Stock up food, medicines and other essentials for at least a month or so.
  2. Learn a new skill. Read a book or something. Don’t spend the next month glued to Corona updates only. Here are some resources to assist you –
  3. Teach the kids something. Play some interesting board games and take some time to do things together indoors. Check out some interesting stuff here –
  4. Leverage the internet to earn some cash. Come out a month later with extra cash in hand. Check out some earlier article –
  5. Have some cash on you. Have some cash on mobile money as well. Liquidate some soft assets and convert them to cash. Try to survive for the next 3 months without additional income. Check out this article for some tips –
  6. In case life throws you off-balance in this crisis take heart. Re-evaluate your options. Rather than worry through the impending shutdown, draw up some plans to course correct. Learn about business and personal finances instead of worrying yourself sick. Look at some of these resources for guidance –
  7. Some kind of government “bailout” is required to prop up the economy. Small businesses and individuals should be considered. Rebates on taxes could be considered. Loan repayments should be deferred. Interest rates should be lowered. Tax exemptions should be widely adopted. Landlords and creditors should be allowed to relax terms. Price caps on food and essential items are called for. All possible measures to save the situation should be considered.

Remember we can’t control what happens to us. This virus has proved that we are not really in control of our lives. The only thing we can control is our mindset and how we respond to circumstances. We can choose to worry, panic and live in anxiety. Or we can choose to stay safe and make the most of the situation. These choices are the only things in our control.

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