MTN Appreciates Customers

MTN Uganda this week embarked on yet another drive to appreciate its customers and also reaffirm its commitment to deliver a distinct and excellent service. This is a quarterly activity carried out by the entire company right from the top management team to the customer frontline executives, taking place at allMTN Service Centres countrywide.

The objective of the engagement is to appreciate and recognize customers who make up MTN’s big family of over 10 million. All MTN staff have taken to solving customer queries and educating them on existing innovations like MoKash and data related issues.

During these engagements, customers areinvited to interact directlywith MTN’smanagement team at the different service points. It’s through these interactions that the leadership gets a better understanding of customer experiences and finds solutions to enhancing it.

MTN’s General Manager for Customer Experience Dorcas Muhwezi said; “As a business, we value each and every customer on the network and it is important to keep in close touch with all our customers and improve their experiences on the MTN network. It has been exciting to seeall MTN backend teams and top management joining Service Centre staff to serve, educate, interact and listen to customers with the main objective of appreciating them and seeking feedback on our products and services.”

Ms. Muhwezi also thanked customers for their continued confidence and commitment to the MTN brand. Last month, MTN markedits 18th anniversary in Uganda by engaging customers in celebrations activities across the country.

Hoima Legislators Tasked To Follow Up On Museveni Ambulance Promise

BY George Busiinge 

Hoima district health department has challenged Hoima district Woman MP Tophus Kaahwa and Buhaguzi County MP Dan Muheirwe to remind president Museveni about his pledge of buying an ambulance for Buhaguzi health sub-district.

Last year, Hoima district partnered with Theta Uganda to fundraise for a Sh200m ambulance, which will be stationed at Kikuube Health Center IV in Buhaguzi County. But, the Hoima district heath inspector Fredrick Byenume told journalists that the campaign was halted after President Museveni during his campaign rally in Kizirafumbi Sub County early this year pledged to buy an ambulance for the area.

Byenume says there is need for the area MPs to remind the president about the pledge. Many mothers in Hoima  district villages struggle to access health facilities during delivery whereby others  board small  cars  which  delays  them  on  the way  and  they  end up  delivering  on  the side of  the road.

Early  this  year  one  mother  delivered  on the  roadside near  Kobil  petrol  station   approaching  Hoima  referral hospital. The lucky woman delivered   before reaching the Hospital in  a small  car which  they  had  hired.

Some women die or lose their newborns due to delays in reaching health centers. Hoima is one of the districts with high maternal mortality rates. Dan Muhairwe the Buhaguzi County MP says that he submitted the matter to the parliamentary committee on Government Assurances.

The committee was set up to scrutinize the assurances, promises and undertakings given by ministers and other agents of government in Parliament from time to time and report on the extent to which those assurances, promises and undertakings have been implemented.

However, Muhairwe blamed the district for halting the fundraising drive saying that the promise of president to buy the Ambulance did not mean that the exercise be halted. By the time the campaign was halted the drive, over sh10 million had been realized.

Jumia House, Stanbic Bank Launch Mortgage Calculator

Jumia House Uganda, a leading online platform for selling, renting and leasing property has partnered with Stanbic Bank, a leading financial services provider, to launch a mortgage tool that will help clients compute details of mortgage loans they intend to acquire.

The tool which has been called the Mortgage Calculator, and can be accessed on the Jumia House website, will provide quotations for mortgage acquisition, compute interest rates, determine repayment time and amounts with a click of your computer or mobile phone buttons to instantly give you feedback.

Shakib Nsubuga, the country manager Jumia House Uganda said the tool also provides instant communication with the bank to kickstart negotiations for the loan acquisition.  “Also, agents can help clients to check and know if they can afford the property and the loan. This helps the agents and buyers to make quick decisions,” Nsubuga explained last week at the launch of the tool at a hotel in Kampala.

Brian Mutungi Tukahirwa, the head, homes loans at Stanbic Bank, said one of the problems prohibiting the growth of mortgage loans in Uganda is lack of information. He believes that with this partnership, clients will be able to make informed decisions on how to deal with the bank.

“Regular people can now know how they can get proper information and how to process the loan. We are bridging the knowledge gap and bringing banking services closer to customers. Customers can decide how much they can borrow and develop a repayment plan because they can compute it all on the website,” Mutungi explained.

To have a mortgage approved in Uganda, you need to have a valid form of identification i.e. passport or national Identification Card, passport photo, LC1 letter for address verification, spouse or next of kin signature.

Mortgage rates in Uganda have recently experienced unplanned fluctuations that have affected borrowers. With the rates fluctuating in different financial institutions finding the right bank and mortgage rate has become challenging and risky. Banks like Stanbic Bank offer a competitive mortgage rate of 17.5%.

Bats Invade Hoima Health Centre

BY George Busiinge

Bats have invaded Kibiro Health Centre II in Kigorobya Sub County, Hoima district causing anxiety among health workers and patients in the area. Although the bats have colonized all the health center departments in Hoima district, the outpatient is the worst affected especially  in the areas  along  the  shoes of  the lake Albert  in Kyangwalisub-county  and  Kigorobya sub-county.

There are black marks on the health center’s white ceiling as a result of the bats and a stench from the mammals’ waste is felt as you enter the facility. Yofesi  Babyesiza, the Kibiro village chairman spoke  to  Earthfinds explaining that the mammals make noise as they  fly all over the place at night. There is fear that the mammals  might  bring other  diseases which  they  don’t know  in  their  village.

He says because of the bats’ waste, cleaning is difficult as the place gets dirty every night  because  u  can’t  sleep  when  they start making noisy which  have  made  patients  to abandon  the  health centre.

Babyesiza says efforts to remove the bats have failed and that a report has been made to the district health office. They are aware and have promised to come and work on it, Babyesiza said. Apparently, the Hoima district secretary for Health James MugenyiMulindambura says they are yet to source funds from the Primary HealthCare vote to purchase pesticides to fumigate the notorious mammals.

He however advices health management committees to fumigate the health centres with locally made chili pepper powder and  means  as the government  looks  for  money   to buy  some  pestscides  for  the health  centres   within  Hoima  district.

21 Mourners Drown In Lake Albert, Police Retrieve Bodies

 

BY George Busiinge

A total of 21 people drowned in Lake Albert last week; Julius Hakiza, the police spokesperson for mid-western region revealed. Police managed to rescue 11 people while still living but unfortunately the other 10 were dead. The bodies were retrieved after an intensive search by fishermen, marines and the police.

Of the 10 who died in the accident, police retrieved 8 dead bodies last week and 2 more were retrieved Monday morning. Hakiza  says  that  the people  who drowned  were coming  from  a burial ceremony  which took place at Kabolwa landing site in Buliisa  while  proceeding to a  landing site  called  Kagoya  in Nebbi district.

Hakiza explained that a hole in the boat caused the drowning accident. Water entered the boat through the hole leading to the drowning. He  added that  these  people had carried  firewood  and other heavy  things  to use  while  at  the  burial  ceremony. The leaking boat was overwhelmed by the weight and it gave way.
Meanwhile  dead bodies  have been handed  over to  the relatives for  burial  except  the  2 which  have  been  retrieved  on Monday morning. They are also going to be handed over to the relatives after identification process.

 

Find Sustainable Solutions To Fight Climate Change Impacts

The climate change debate has globally continued to dominate the world agenda aims to finding the lasting solutions to the effects and impacts that is threatening the billions of lives in both developed and developing countries.

This week the Conference of Parties (COP) 22 will be taking place in Marrakech Morocco where negotiators around the world will convene and discus among others strategies in implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change that was formulated during the COP 21 in France. In Paris Agreement, countries committed to reduce their carbon a missions and establishes guidelines for international collaboration on climate change.

As the world leaders commence with the discussions in the COP22, Uganda is already battling with the impacts of climate change that has already driven three million people into famine in the cattle corridor; some of the worst affected districts include Isingiro and Kiruhura among others.

The prolonged drought that has mainly affected the cattle corridor stretching from south western to north eastern Uganda is primarily responsible for famine,  as a result nearly Seven million more people are currently vulnerable to famine; the state minister for disaster preparedness Hon Musa Ecweru re-affirmed this last week during his interview on NTV Uganda show.  

As much as government responded by delivering relief inform of food items to the worst affected households and further assuring the country that no person will this time die of hunger, these are temporary solutions that government needs to rethink and find sustainable ones.

It should be noted that, Uganda has persistently suffered from drought and flood that often result into famine for the past decade with Karamoja and Teso sub regions being the most affected with loss of lives and livestock evidenced.

As the country continues to grapple with the challenges of climate change, and negotiations take off in Morocco, it is important for the government of Uganda to reflect and focus on finding sustainable solutions to climate change impacts, which can be done through building communities capacity to adapt to climate change impacts especially in agricultural sector for this matter.

Climate change adaptation can be described as any adjustments to actual or expected climate change hazards and its effects in order to reduce harm or exploit potential benefits. It can enable communities to withstand these impacts and save government billions of money as well.

It should be noted that agricultural sector is the most vulnerable to climate change hazards such as floods, drought, high temperatures among others and these impacts have the potential to slow both economic and social development of the country.

In order to build communities capacities to adapt, the adaptations must be informed by Climate science that will guide to identify the magnitude of the risk and identify the appropriate adaptation strategy. In additions, communities must be involved in the planning and identification process so as to create ownership of the initiatives and to have a better understanding of the increased risks and uncertainties that climate change brings.

In addition, strengthening of local community capacity to access climate related information, managing risk and uncertainty of the impacts is of significant importance in this struggle. Finally, Civil Society Organizations should continue to lobby and advocate for formulation and effective implementation of climate change laws and policies in the country. 

Samuel Okulony

Programs and research coordinator / climate change expert

Africa Institute for Energy Governance

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Huawei Staff Deliver Sh33m Donations To Rahab Girls Home

Huawei has  fulfilled its $10,000 donation to Rahab Foundation to rehabilitate disadvantaged girls. The ceremony took place at Rahab Foundation home in Kasangati and it was attended by the Board of trustees of the Charity home, Huawei Public Relations Southern Africa Regional Director Zhangzhiheng, Huawei Staff and Rahab girls’ representatives.

“Huawei donated desktop computers, laptops, household and food items, and other items worth $10,000 to assist the foundation reduce administrative costs and also to rehabilitate more girls out there”, says Mr. Zhangzhiheng.

Mr. Zhangzhiheng further commended Uganda’s First Lady Hon. Janet Museveni, who has supported the setting up of Rahab Charity Home, and for spearheading the empowering of women and the welfare of the girl child.

Speaking at the event, a moved Board of Trustees chairperson Mrs. Dorah Kabonero said the girls had never seen such a donation in their compound.

Ms. Phionah Namazzi, who was one of the beneficiaries of the Home’s support system but now is a graduate working as a Programmes Assistant at Rahab, “There is no way we could be here unless good willed and responsible people like Huawei Staff come to support. Such gestures give the girls confidence and strength in their psycho-social rehabilitation, knowing many people care for them.”
 
This donation was a result of Huawei staff taking part in team building activities at the “Gather for Love” event at the Speke Resort Munyonyo on 16th October 2016 to raise points that were generated into monetary terms worth 10,000USD.

“‘Gather for love’ is originated from this contribution, and we’ve decided to use this theme for all our charity events. This is the way we show our love to Uganda and Ugandan people, we want to use this slogan to call for people around us to gather for love and gather for better lives,” says Mr. Patrick Tong, Huawei Uganda Public Relations Director.

Board Says They Are Taking Crane Bank To Next Level

Members of the Board of Directors at Crane Bank Limited have set their eyes on taking the commercial bank to the next level, a press statement released by the Kampala Road based bank declared. This vow is in reference to the bank’s move to sell part of its shares to an investor deemed suitable and acceptable by Bank of Uganda, the regulator of the banking sector in Uganda.

“A few years back, the Stakeholders and the Board of Crane Bank Limited made a decision to bring in a strategic equity Partner possessed of a more global Banking outreach and profile. This is aimed at taking Crane Bank to the next level,” the bank’s statement explained in the first paragraph.

In pursuance of this agenda, the bank engaged a potential investor a process that was according to the bank misinterpreted by the media. The media in the last few weeks have been reporting inaccurately that Sudhir Ruparelia the main shareholder of the bank was selling off the bank due to poor performance. This was followed by malicious social media reports emphasizing the same falsehoods.

Last week the bank and Bank of Uganda were forced to issue press statements when messages from anonymous sources on social media said the central bank had asked customers of Crane Bank to withdraw their money. The central bank said this was false explaining that Crane Bank was in sound financial health.

“It has been brought to our attention that messages have been circulating on WhatsApp instructing depositors to withdraw their money from Crane Bank within the next week. We wish to categorically state that these messages were not issued by Bank of Uganda,” a statement by Bank of Uganda noted.

In reference to the talks between Crane Bank and a yet to be named investor, Bank of Uganda explained that commercial banks have a right to sell part of their shares to the right people. “However, any new investor in a commercial bank must satisfy the regulator that they are fit and proper,” the central added. The central added that they have not received any request from Crane Bank to approve a change in shareholding.  “Should such a request be received, the proposed shareholders will be vetted for fit and proper credentials and positively considered if they warrant approval,” the statement continued.

Crane Bank said they have not engaged the central bank because they are still talking to the said investor.  “The investor has remained undeterred by what perhaps was aimed at discouraging them. To our customers, we are indeed proud of those who have stood with us and demonstrated their loyalty during this unfounded social media onslaught,” Crane bank explained.

The board and management of Crane Bank condemned the individuals behind the fabrication and circulation of these malicious messages. “In the same breath, we urge all responsible members of the public to desist from sharing and or forwarding such damaging information as it baseless.  We wish to reassure all our present and future customers that Crane Bank remains your solid and committed financial services provider.” It said.

PR Firm Burson-Marsteller Expands

Burson-Marsteller, a leading globalstrategic communications and public relations firm, and exclusive affiliate to fireworks advertising in Uganda, recently announced the continued expansion of its presence in Africa with the launch of Blast Burson-Marsteller in the Indian Ocean Islands (Mauritius, Reunion, Seychelles, Madagascar and Comores) and MO Burson-Marsteller in Angola.

The firm also extended its existing partnership with Icon Burson-Marsteller in Cameroon into two new territories –Congo-Brazzaville and Gabon. The award-winning Burson-Marsteller Africa network covers 53 of the 55 countries on the continent.

“The announcement reinforces our commitment to ensuring we have a strong presence in every region where our clients need strategic counsel and cutting-edge integrated communications services,” said Don Baer, Worldwide Chair and CEO, Burson-Marsteller.

“Africa is one of the world’s most important emerging markets and a vital region for our clients’ global growth strategies. With the mosthighly developed and expansive footprint on the continent, we have the reach and depth of resources to serve clients currently operating in Africa as well as those planning expansion into the region.”

“Our African network has been in operation for more than 20 years and has been recognized both locally and internationally as the preeminent network across the continent,” said Jeremy Galbraith, CEO, Burson-Marsteller Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) and Global Chief Strategy Officer.

“Our approach to Africa involves building relationships over time with partners that progress from being non-exclusive affiliates to exclusive affiliates and then to branded partner agencies. Each step in the process brings the partner agencies closer to us and provides them and our clients with even greater benefits. With these new partner relationships, Burson-Marsteller is now well-positioned in the Indian Ocean Islands, Angola, Congo and Gabon.”

“For 27 years our commitment to growing partnerships has underpinned Burson-Marsteller’s activities across Africa,” added Robyn de Villiers, Chair and CEO, Burson-Marsteller Africa. “Today’s announcement is evidence of our commitment to strengthening relationships with our existing partners in Africa. This approach allows our partner agencies – each of which is a respected business in its own market - to share more fully in the benefits of being part of a global network throughgreater access to expertise and training, among many other things. This addresses the requirement for skills transfer which is so important in Africa, and benefits both the staff in our network and our clients.”

In 2014, Burson-Marsteller rebranded the network it acquired in 2011 to Burson-Marsteller Africa and simultaneously announced branded partner offices in 27 countries.  Later that year, that number increased to 29 with the signing of two additional affiliate partnership contracts, both of which had been long-standing exclusive affiliates.

The Burson-Marsteller Africa network is headquartered in Johannesburg and continues to be run by Robyn de Villiers, who founded the network over 25 years ago.

Customer Care Tips To keep Your Business Customer Friendly

From the 3rd of October till the 7th, Jumia Travel and the rest of the world is celebrating Customer Care week and this means we bring you tips and experiences by people including our very own team, that has dealt with thousands of different customers and hotels through the course of our business.

Customer care is defined as the art of looking after customers and ensuring their satisfaction with one's business and its goods or services. Jumia Travel, being an online based business with over 820 hotel partners all over Uganda, our biggest goal is to ensure that service delivery is always on a timely and customer respectful manner that will keep our clients happy.

How then does a business build its customer care standards to suit its business?

Reception/ Foyer

The first part of your company that people will see is the reception, it being the welcoming area for your customers. You have to make sure your reception is warm and inviting to clients and other business partners you deal with. This is very important especially if you are operating a hotel; the professionalism at the reception shows future residents a glimpse of what they will get when they book their rooms.

Front Desk Service

Away from how your reception looks like, the people that receive your clients will always leave a lasting impression on them. This starts with the security officer, the concierge to the front desk manager. Are they polite, patient and understanding with the customers or always too busy and unprofessional to the clients? This makes it easy for clients to run to your competitors without a second thought.

Professionalism Is Key

It is of utmost importance to hire people that know what they are doing in your business; people who will understand that whether they like it or not, the customer’s needs come before everything else around them. Staff that do their job to a satisfactory point and make the client happy give your business that extra spark.

Personalised Services

Is your business customer friendly? Do you have before or after services that are offered to your clients, or when done with them you run off to the next one without ascertaining if they were pleased with the services they received? Every client you have is unique in their way so make sure to get personal with them, to understand their experiences with your business.

Unique Delivery

Every business has that something unique in their brand delivery that makes them stand out; what is yours? Whatever makes the company unique always revolves around your company goals and the target market, the moment you polish it out to attract clients you have to keep it going for the better.

Get Experimental

Sometimes clients get bored with the same exact thing they keep seeing or receiving in your business, but this does not mean you have to discard that completely without experimenting on how many customers would prefer change and which ones would not. Experiment with your service delivery strategies whenever you can because this teaches you a lot about the clientele you have.

Interaction

Whenever the chance avails itself, make sure you interact with your clients to see how their experiences are with your services. Pay attention to their conversations even if they are not talking to you or their behaviour around some of your staff.

Availability

Businesses are built on customer awareness and the hard work of its staff, but most of the time customers have queries and a little assistance with some of the services offered. It's important to have a team available to offer assistance whenever possible to your clients.

Credit: travel.jumia.com

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