In a conference held yesterday at Silver Springs Hotel, the E-trade association of Uganda discussed issues affecting the industry as e-commerce companies want ban on Facebook lifted and the 6 pm curfew on Boda Bodas reconsidered. The E-trade Association of Uganda is an association that represents companies and organizations that use the power of the internet to drive job creation in the country.
This association includes e-commerce brands in Uganda like Jumia and SafeBoda. Since the shutdown of the internet in January, businesses that depend on the internet to operate have been affected as some still struggle to recover from the government’s drastic move.
The power of the internet is undeniable today with many transactions now being carried out online because of the convenience the internet provides along with guaranteed safety and privacy of people’s information. The effects of a shutdown like the one that happened before and after elections are severe which many experienced.
Company heads speak out as e-commerce companies want ban on Facebook lifted
The E-trade Association of Uganda brings together some of the most innovative companies that are creating employment and bringing investment to Uganda. Some of these companies attended and participated in the conference held yesterday where they shared their grievances about the ongoing economic situation in Uganda in regards to e-commerce.
In attendance was Ricky Thompson, Co-founder and Director of SafeBoda who explained that since the government made orders for a curfew, earnings for Boda Boda riders have sunk terribly as many of them were cut off from their sources of income leaving them with deep financial troubles.
It is to be noted that the ongoing curfew is especially hard on Boda Boda riders whose motorcycles are taken by the authorities when they are found making movements after curfew, unlike car owners who continue to move and are charged a small fine when caught.
Ron Kawamara, the CEO of Jumia Uganda emphasized that the ability to shop online helped to enforce the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that required people to social distance, avoid crowding in places, limited movements which helped to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
He also went ahead to explain the devastating impact of the ban on the popular social media platform Facebook which has cost Ugandans millions of shillings and others to shut down since they relied on it to operate and market their businesses. This is one of the major reasons why e-commerce companies want ban on Facebook lifted.
Social media platforms today have seen a boost in numbers with many business owners taking advantage of the wide reach these platforms have to put their businesses there in order for people to access their items. This has been deemed effective with many able to make lots of money from the comfort of their homes.
The Jumia Uganda CEO explained that “Without Facebook, it has become extremely difficult for customers to access our platforms, this together with the 6 pm motorcycle curfew are the greatest impediments to the growth of our businesses in this unprecedented period. Collectively as the e-trade association, we want the government to lift the ban on Facebook. Companies under our association have laid off more than 25% ever since Facebook was banned in Uganda.”
The government has not made any clear indications of when the social media platform will finally be restored despite many expressing their frustrations. Talks are still ongoing with the tech giant even as e-commerce companies want ban on Facebook lifted soon.