PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has promised to meet traders over the current economic and financial situation in the country.
In a message delivered by trade minister Amelia Kyambadde yesterday at Diamond Hotel in Kampala, the President urged the traders to desist from striking, saying it would only weaken the shilling further.
“We are in the process of building this economy, please do not break it,” Museveni was quoted by the minister as saying.
Museveni told the traders that he would meet with them when he returns to the country.
“Allow me to come back to meet you within three days and see how we can solve this problem,” said Museveni.
By press time, Kyambadde was still in the meeting with the traders.
Earlier, the President of Uganda National Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Olive Kigongo, issued a statement in which she urged the traders not to take any action that would aggravate the economic situation “We discourage calls being made for the business community to go on strike,” she said yesterday.
“We also discourage singular grouping to call for such actions on behalf of the business community on matters so important whose outcomes have far reaching implications on the wider economy.”
Instead, Kigongo called for a wider discussion with all key stakeholders from the private sector and public sector, for “a meaningful and desirable conclusion that addresses key concerns that is in the interest of our country.”
“We strongly urge the key ministries of finance and trade to immediately set up a framework that will allow all key private sector bodies to participate in finding a comprehensive solution to these challenges,” Kigongo concluded.
She said the chamber was “equally concerned about the weakening of the Ugandan shilling against most major currencies, especially the US dollar.” The shilling has been trading at an average of sh2,450 against the US dollar compared to sh1,870 against the greenback in the same period two years ago.
Meanwhile, the Uganda Importers, Exporters and Traders Association (UGIETA) in a separate statement also called for government intervention.
“We request that the Government strongly addresses the issue of the exchange rate that is negatively impacting on our businesses and ultimately the entire economy,” UGIETA general secretary Emmanuel Lubandi said yesterday.
In a related development, the Police warned yesterday against the strike.
Police spokesperson Judith Nabakooba, said: “Police presence, visibility and accessibility will continue to be seen and we, therefore, ask for your support and maximum cooperation to maintain law and order, prevent crime, and ensure the safety and security of the country.
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