AS the old year ended a focus point to aid one of my personal actions in 2019 – what some people refer to as a ‘New Year’s Resolution’ – showed up in my soap dish.
I won’t go into the reasons why I make use of a lot of soap, but believe me when I say it is a crucial item for me wherever I go and I tend to develop near-personal relationships with these inanimate objects.
I have learnt how to stick to a brand for years on end.
A long time ago I made a decision to drop the brand of soap I had gotten stuck to and opted for any Ugandan soap. I went from brand to brand and just couldn’t find the right one for my ablutions.
One day I even found myself placing an order for a regular supply of some green cakes from Katosi Primary School, where the pupils had been taught how to manufacture it using avocado and herbs. Their offerings were so smooth and aromatic that I bought up way too many pieces and two months later was regretfully throwing them out as they had disintegrated into an indescribable mush.
That’s one thing about making this life-changing (for others, not oneself) decision to steadfastly support Ugandan-made products – I have learnt to insist on high quality products that can replace the imported ones that take the money we spend to other countries.
So imagine my pleasure, some months ago, at discovering the ‘Body Milk’ product by Movit! The very next day I was back at the supermarket stocking up on this soap and I have never looked back – even when the cost went up from Ushs2,200 to Ushs2,500.
It got to the point that I always bought an extra cake during any supermarket visit even if I’d walked in to buy a pack of breath mints, just to ensure that I had a reliable domestic supply should a sudden shortage occur.
Which brings me to the soap dish that startled me into what one could call a ‘Resolution’.
At one point late last year I stopped finding Movit Body Milk on the shelves of the supermarkets I visited. After many trips I started noticing a foreign brand of soap – bigger in size than my favourite Movit Body Milk – was suddenly available at a discounted price of Ushs6,500 for a pack of three.
I succumbed and bought up a pack, then got so taken by it that whenever I went searching for Movit Body MIlk I emerged with this new brand of soap. This went on for a couple of weeks till I checked my values and rebuked myself.
I went further and further until, in a district very far removed from my normal operating zone, I found the right soap and picked up enough to last most of this month.
The allure and shine of the intruder brand is still with me, as is its scent since it sits wet next to my Movit Body Milk, but my resolve is stronger.
It might have been a coincidence that my Made-In-Uganda Movit went scarce just as this foreign soap made it’s promotional appearance, but suppose there was a sinister plan afoot here? Wouldn’t that be plain economic sabotage on a national scale? I think so.
How many Movit employees’ jobs would be at risk if we all stopped buying their products? How much would the government lose in PAYE and other Taxes? What would our future look like if all these employees’ pension fund savings suddenly stopped?
If we let the likes of Movit disappear from the supermarket shelves, and our soap dishes, how will our children ever know that Ugandans can make good quality products? If we don’t create, develop, support and buy more and more Ugandan products than the imported ones, how will we motivate our children and grandchildren to invent and innovate?
Hence my 2019 action plan entry this year – to further promote Ugandan products and Uganda at every turn and corner, with a specific objective of giving at least fifty (50) products some good visibility within these borders and abroad.
If we all do this and also put our money where our mouths are, I honestly believe we will have a bigger, more promising economy to hand down to the next generation, and much more reason to declare things like: Happy New Year!