The Ugandan economy, like many others the world over, is yet to fully recover from the shocks of the coronavirus pandemic. The war in Europe between Russia and Ukraine has exported unwanted inflation to the world, crippling economies.
Uganda, a developing country, now has to deal with the challenges that come with a wrecking global economy. The eyes of the private sector and the citizenry are on the government expecting solutions.
While the wait for government solutions is on, members of the private sector corporations are devising ways of surviving the economic hardships. Unfortunately, one of the measures they are taking is job cuts.
One such company that has taken the path of cutting jobs is Jumia Uganda, the pan-African and leading online business platform. It is alleged by people inside Jumia that they are laying off some of its workers due to inadequate resources.
A source that to chose to remain anonymous told Charmar News recently that a significant number of employees who were to be laid off were asked to remain on standing leave for three months.
After the leave, the company will officially announce the layoff of the unlucky workers.
A tech startup, the advances in technology have also played a role in Jumia not needing physical employees as systems become more automated.
The source said some of the affected workers at Jumia have already engaged their lawyers as they wait for the company to officially declare the layoff.
Another employer that had to see some of their workers laid off is Nile Breweries Limited, the beer-making giant. Nile Breweries has for the past six months been systematic in laying off workers, a source said.
The source said a notable number of workers in the marketing department lost their jobs, however, Emmanuel Njuki, the Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs at Nile Breweries, refuted the claims.
He said: “Early in the year, there was a business reorganization to prime the business for efficiency. The process concluded. Every business will from time to time move its people to positions where they can best deliver value. That’s what happened.”
Brookside Limited, the dairy processing company, has also fired a sizeable number of their staff, it has been reported. Brookside packages long-life milk, cream, butter, yoghurt, ghee, and milk powder in Uganda and East Africa.
It is reported that Brookside retrenched over 50 percent of its staff following a drop in the exported products.
Brookside blamed it on the Kenya government’s failure to grant export permits to Brookside Uganda, something that denied the company access to 75 per cent of its market since March 2023.
On November 30 2022, Next Media, the proprietors of NBS Television, Nile Post, an online portal, Salaam Television and Next Radio, laid off 30 staff in a mega restructuring.
Rock and hard place for employers
Moses Waswa, a human resource expert and career coach, believes employers find themselves between a rock and a hard place.
“As the economy becomes tight every day, it only means production and consumption progressively reduce. Until conditions improve, the amount of work required reduces, which means the number of employees required will reduce,”
“But also employers are looking to spend the least on production and the biggest expenditure on production goes on inputs and salaries,”
“Reducing cost means reducing the salary budget and operating with the least manpower possible. This calls for the employment of manpower that can multitask; multiskilled people usually retain their jobs.”
Waswa says digital skills, a grasp of the works of artificial intelligence and people should be a must have for one to be able to retain a job or get one.