On June 19 this year, I attended a budget discussion which NTV broadcasted live. I had been dropped off at the Ministry of Finance and I had means to get back to office.
This was a very good meeting which brought together different stakeholders to discuss the budget, as was presented by the minister of Finance.
After the meeting, I wanted to use public transport back to our offices but I realised some people were there waiting for me.
I needed to be at office at exactly 2pm in order to be on time, so I decided to take a special hire taxi.
I found a special hire taxi that was parked next to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and we headed to my office. I think the cab driver was about my mum’s age.
He told me his name (I want to call him Peter Mukasa for the sake of this article) and that he was from Masaka.
We started chatting about general stuff and in this case I love listening. These taxi drivers know so much about many different things and listening to them can be very interesting.
I think that this particular driver was naturally polite and seemed to be honest. I say this because at the end of my trip, I forgot my wallet and books, which were returned to me without anything being removed from the wallet.
He also wanted to offer me an avocado which I think was meant for his lunch, to which I politely declined but thanked him for his generosity.
During the trip he said in 1975 he was brought to Mutungo and showed land (an acre), which had cost Shs4,000 and he refused to buy it.
He was then taken to Muyenga and showed another piece of land which cost Shs7,000 an acre and he thought, “I do not want to live on hills”. He declined to buy both pieces of land and unfortunately, he cannot rewind time.
He says, that he had more than Shs20,000 on his account at the time but being young, he enjoyed seeing money on the account instead of investing it. He went to Masaka and bought a piece of land at Shs1,000 and built a house which he still owns todate.
He said that he did not have anybody to guide him as a young man otherwise, he would be a very big land lord now in both Muyenga and Mutungo because the opportunities were available.
He said he was a very hard working young man, then earning not too much but enough to save and invest.
Today, he now feels like advising young people about planning for the future but many are not willing to listen.
He wants to tell them about where he went wrong so they do not make the same mistakes.
People should take advantage of their youth; work hard, save hard, and invest hard.
He says older people are struggling now and no one is talking about it purely because they wasted time while they were young. He worked with National Housing many years ago.
Today, Uganda has an additional one million new human beings every single year. Many of these are being fathered by children (children are producing children).
The above simply means competition for both jobs and available resources is growing every year and it will only get worse.
Many years ago, parents were looked after by their own children but today many children cannot even look after themselves, which means they cannot look after their ageing parents.
The moral of the story: While young, do not misuse any opportunity that comes your way. Do not let the pressures of our society push you into situations which will eat away at your future investment potential.
Do not listen to people who say life is short and, therefore, let us enjoy it carelessly. You will have yourself to blame and that is why I share these stories.
I have been blessed to listen to people that made the right choices and I have put into practice what I learnt.
At the end, I gave him Shs40,000 for a distance I often pay Shs25,000. He seemed very thankful and in addition I told him my name and that I was in born in Mbale which makes me a Mugisu.
The writer is CEO Great Lakes Safaris