Forum for Democratic Change presidential candidate Kizza Besigye yesterday promised to reduce bank lending rates to ensure that people access loans for investment. Commercial interest rates now range in excess of 25 per cent per annum.
Cheaper loans, Dr Besigye said, will help Ugandans to start up investments and alleviate what he called the rampant unemployment problem in the country.
“Interest rates are high because the government is competing for the same loan money with the citizens,” Dr Besigye said.
He said the competition for loan money forces the lenders to not only increase the price of money, interest rates, but prefer to lend to the government, which is less likely to default than individual borrowers.
Dr Besigye said much of the money the government borrows internally, which constitutes the domestic debt, is used to cater for the costs of public administration.
He promised to reduce the size of Cabinet from 80 to 21 and save money on public administration.
Speaking in Kawempe in Kampala City, amid a mostly youthful audience most of whom had raised their hands to respond to his call for all the unemployed to identify themselves, Dr Besigye also promised to embark on “government-led” industrialisation to provide more jobs.
“We shall set up industries and sell you shares so that you eventually own the industries and the government regains its money to start other industries.”
Accompanied by Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and various Opposition candidates, Dr Besigye combed Kawempe Division in Kampala and Kira Municipality in Wakiso District, starting out at Mulago, through Kyebando, Kisaasi, Kanyanya, Kalerwe, Bwaise, Kawempe, through to Naalya, Bweyogerere, Kireka, Kasokoso and other parts before entering Namboole stadium for the main rally of the day.
In Kampala, the rivalry between District Woman MP Nabilah Naggayi and Ms Shifrah Lukwago, one of her challengers, reached fever pitch as men attached to Ms Nabilah’s entourage tried to shove Ms Lukwago out of Dr Besigye’s entourage, arguing that she is not a member of FDC. Ms Lukwago belongs to Truth and Justice, a pressure group led by Lord Mayor Lukwago.