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Uganda Business Owners’ Strike on Bank Rates Enters Fourth Day

Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) -- A strike by business owners in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, to protest an increase in commercial-bank interest rates entered a fourth day after inconclusive talks with President Yoweri Museveni on Jan. 12.

The strike, initially planned for three days, was maintained for an additional day ahead of more talks with the president today, Mubarak Ntale, the association’s deputy spokesman said by telephone from Kampala.

“We found it fitting to first hear from the president before we reopen our businesses,” Ntale said.

Business owners are protesting the increase in interest rates on commercial-bank loans to as high as 35 percent from a range of 17 percent to 23 percent in November, after the increase following the increase in the central bank’s key interest rate, according to the traders association.

Uganda’s central bank in November raised interest rates by 3 percentage points to a record 23 percent to curb inflation that accelerated to an 18-year high in 2011.

To contact the reporter on this story: Fred Ojambo in Kampala at fojambo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ana Monteiro at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net

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