Friday, April 16, 2010

The Cost of Living in Uganda drives Corruption

Its Friday 16th  April 2010  in Kampala. I hope your day is progressing well, as usual, mine is fair. Am deeply frustrated by the costing of living in Kampala. The City itself is a hub of thieves. Final consumers are cheated now and then. NO price regulations in Uganda. Anyone can set up his/her price quotes and you are free to buy or not to buy yet you need the service. From agro produce to restaurants to fuel, the costs are sky rocketing and unaffordable to a common man like me who doesn’t even have a job.

While the cost of living in economically sounding countries is lowering everyday because of the recession, In Uganda it’s the opposite. For years, I have prepared my food at home, bought my essentials in the market and a price which was quite high but not skyrocketing. What’s more frustrating, you find prices strongly gapped on a same bulding, you can go and buy a kilo of sugar at 2500 UGX,but then after walking few steps on the same building, you find the same kilo costing 2200 UGX, why is this? When I tried to inquire why?, a store owner simply told me that “everyone knows where he gets his/he products” and also he told me, some shop owners have tax breaks, so if you are from western Uganda or an Indian, chances are very higher of NOT paying taxes or paying very low taxes, this is so because most of the political elites in Government are from western Uganda and these businessmen fund their campaigns during elections. Then we also have the problem of smuggling goods in Uganda but why? The answer is, the Government must squeeze those few who pay taxes, when the taxes are higher yet no services delivered from the State, business men find their way in smuggling and this makes Uganda another place where rules of the jungle apply in daily living.So these other people who are not connected to the politicians and Government in general, cannot compete with those ones who are not paying taxes. As a result of this, everyone is hiking prices of whatever they sell to enable them stay in business.

Most buildings are owned by either Government connected guys or Indians, so they charge in dollars. Why do business people quote prices and costs in dollars and the Government of Uganda endorses it? Don’t we have our shillings? The continuing free fall of the Ugandan shillings almost makes us consumers slaves of business people and the Government. Who cares about us anyway?

Most Rwandese products including fuel go through Ugandan territories, why is it that the the Cost of Living in Rwanda seems friendly and affordable? Why do Uganda has fuel crisis? Why almost everybody in Uganda is cannot afford electricity yet our friends in Kenya and Rwanda where we export it can afford it? What went wrong? Who can fix our lives?

Because of this living frustration, everyone in Uganda including those politicians are corrupt simply because they want to make “their own set up living” ends meet. Everyone is like putting you on gallows to cough whatever you have.

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