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Kiberu approaches work like the world is ending

By Patrick Kagenda

How does your day start?

When you are self-employed, or even when you are employed you have to be responsible to the highest level. You have to be committed and determined. By seven o’clock in the morning I am in my office and I am always the last to leave. I don’t carry forward work that would have been done today because there is no tomorrow. I supervise all the departments in my factory individually to asses how work is progressing. You yourself have to know what you are doing so that your employees only complement your work but not the employees to show you what to do.

What challenges do you face as a proprietor?

The biggest of all the challenges is that the number of customers for our products is declining every passing year. This means that the government should put a lot of effort in creating jobs for people to work and get money. Declining customers means people are becoming poorer. The other challenges are poor infrastructure, unreliable power and high taxation. The entire infrastructure that the colonialists left behind has since deteriorated ten times. We are moving in a circle with no opening.

Kiberu’s tips to successful business management?

Being trustworthy in all we do. Nobody is born with money. But because you are trustworthy people will accept your word and you have to stand by it.

Be patient. When things fail to work out today you do not have to lose hope but you just have to wait for tomorrow. You should never think that because you have failed today you close shop.

Patience, trustworthiness are very crucial issues to successful business management. In my lifetime trustworthiness and patience have helped me a lot up to where I am. Even today when things are hard it’s patience and trustworthiness that has kept me in business because people trust my word.

How are you resolving these challenges?

As a manufacturer I am trying to cling on but when things eventually fail to work out I will reduce on the staff at my factory. The big issue here is that the government should address the issue of creating employment for the people to get income. Now that I am the chairman of the Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA), I am going to talk to the government to come to terms with what is happening on the ground in relation to us the manufacturers because the country is in turmoil. Wherever you go people are crying. Now my job is to inform the government. We at UMA are not going to adopt a wait-and-see scenario, but to inform the government to establish industries so as for people to get jobs and earn an income they can use to buy goods.

What is your opinion of Ugandan workers?

Ugandans are highly educated. Look at the ground nuts sellers: they all have degrees. What is lacking is for people to get away from the hand-to-mouth life and adopt a life of long-term planning. Do not go by what some people say that Ugandans are lazy. Ugandans are not lazy only that they do not have serious work to do. Unless people are given an opportunity and exposure you can never tell what they are capable of. However the biggest problem about the young people we employ is that they want to get rich yesterday rather than tomorrow. People should think about tomorrow rather than think about yesterday. Before you envy a person who is driving a car first ask how he got it. Do not think of jumping to where that person is but find out how he got to that stage and what his base is. Do you have a similar base? If you do not have a base like his do not venture into his lifestyle.


About Kaddu Kiberu: He is the Managing Director of Peacock Paints and Chairman of Uganda Manufacturers Association


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