OP-ED: President Museveni’s Stand Against Exorbitant Interest Rates Is A Step Towards Economic Empowerment

Ddungu Jordan
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Leviticus 25:35-37, states that lending should be done with compassion and fairness, without
charging excessive interest. Proverbs 28:8 further emphasizes the importance of just lending
practices, stating that those who increase their wealth through usury and unjust gain will only
accumulate it for someone who is kind to the poor.

The President’s recent directive to regulate the interest rates charged by moneylenders in Uganda
has sparked a much-needed conversation about the financial well-being of the nation’s citizens.
This therefore is to shed more light in support of the President’s statement by examining
constitutional articles, Bible verses as earlier cited, fiscal policies, and historical political leaders
who have advocated for fair lending practices and whose precedence we still lean onto for
guidance on a number of issues economic empowerment being one of them. By addressing the
issue of exorbitant interest rates, another step for Uganda in the goal of economic empowerment
and protecting its citizens from financial exploitation is taken.

The bible, a moral tool and a source of guidance to the majority of Ugandans urges us all to
refrain from unfairness through excessive interests levied by money lenders. Leviticus earlier
cited guides us on fairness, and compassion when it comes to lending. President Museveni an
advocate of compassion and fairness taking a stand against exorbitant interest rates to foster
economic empowerment is only trite for a man who knows the power and knowledge embedded
in the bible.

The Bible alone however shall not be the yardstick for unfair and unjust tendencies of money
lenders that heighten financial exploitation, the Uganda constitution, under the Directive
Principles of State Policy, emphasizes the importance of economic justice and the eradication of
exploitation. Article 21(1b) states that the state shall take appropriate measures to ensure that all
citizens have access to economic opportunities and benefits. By regulating interest rates,
President Museveni is enforcing the law of the country’s constitution in protecting
citizens from exploitative lending practices that encompass the traits of many money lenders and
the country.

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The directive further aligns with sound fiscal policies aimed at promoting economic stability.
High-interest rates can hinder economic growth by discouraging investment and stifling
entrepreneurship. By regulating interest rates in accordance with inflation, the government can
strike a balance between protecting borrowers and ensuring a conducive environment for
economic development.

Throughout history, numerous political leaders have recognized the need for fair lending
practices. Mahatma Gandhi, a renowned leader in India’s struggle for independence, advocated
for the eradication of usury and the establishment of fair lending institutions. Similarly, Nelson
Mandela, the iconic South African leader, emphasized the importance of economic justice and
fair access to credit for all citizens. President Museveni’s directive follows the precedence of the
principles championed by these influential leaders, highlighting its significance further.

President Museveni’s directive to regulate interest rates charged by moneylenders is therefore a
commendable step towards economic empowerment and protecting the financial well-being of
Ugandan citizens. Supported by constitutional articles, biblical teachings, fiscal policies, and the
endorsement of historical political leaders, this move aims to curb exploitative lending practices
that have led to financial distress and even suicide among young people.

By implementing fair lending practices, Uganda can foster economic growth, encourage entrepreneurship, and ensure a more equitable society for all its citizens. We can conclude that it is a move that is aimed at bettering the economic situation of the country. It should be welcomed with open arms for both the lender and the borrower for it is aimed to protect both parties for their financial wellbeing.

The writer is a youth and good governance activist.
Contact via Twitter (X) – @MrJordanposts

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