Besigye Flags off Traders’ Strike
Opposition leader Col. Kizza Besigye has today January 10 encouraged traders to close shops in a sit-down strike until government solves their grievances.
Speaking during an evening talk show at CBS radio, Besigye said traders should proceed with the strike until opposition removes the “entire rotten system.”
Besigye noted: “I thank the businessmen for waking up to defend their rights. Banks should not exploit them. You traders need to know that we support you. Go ahead with the strike. I encourage teachers to follow suit.”
The statement is likely to infuriate government which believes opposition has been encouraging strikes to cause economic collapse.
Under their umbrella organization, Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) city businessmen today shunned a crisis meeting convened by Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi at his office in Kampala.
KACITA spokesperson Issa Ssekito tells Chhimpreports.com the strike kicks off tomorrow Wednesday.
“Lock all your shops. Do not harass police or security operatives. Don’t come to work. The strike is on until Friday. If government does not take action, the strike will be stretched for more days.”
Traders has flatly failed to reach a middle ground with private bank operators and Emmanuel Mutebile, Bank of Uganda governor to reduce the Central Bank Rate (CBR).
CBR is the rate at which the central bank lends money to commercial banks. Mutebile told the traders that he would not reduce the CBR which stands at 23 percent because of the need to control inflation.
Traders are now compelled to pay a higher interest rate on loans they acquired before the CBR was hiked.
They have since rejected the move, saying they would be unable to pay back the loans and would subsequently close down their businesses.
Nevertheless, deputy Police spokesperson Judith Nabakooba says traders who choose to open their shops will receive adequate protection.
The traders’ move is likely to paralyse business and cost government billions of shillings.
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Updated on 2013-05-09 09:25
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