Traders Raise Alarm As Shilling Hits Record Low Top story

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In short
Traders continue to experience uncertainty in the market as the Uganda Shilling plunges to its lowest level against the Dollar. Importers say they have to dig deep into their pockets to import products after import prices went up.

Traders continue to experience uncertainty in the market as the Uganda Shilling plunges to its lowest level against the Dollar.
 
The Shilling dropped to the 3,400 mark this week, with some business people raising fears that the trend, if not addressed, could push them out of the market.
 
The traders, some of whom URN has spoken to, say they have to dig deep into their pockets to import products after import prices went up. The traders earn incomes in Ugandan Shillings and yet purchase in dollars.  With the Shilling declining, they have to spend more per dollar so as to import.
 
John Tumusiime, a businessman in Kikuubo who imports blankets from US and Canada, says depreciating Shilling has had   a huge impact on the cost of goods. He says his import costs have jumped from 23 million shillings at the beginning of the year to 30 million shillings by end of June.  In the same period, the Shilling declined from 2,700 to 3,430 per dollar today. This has put the Ugandan traders at a less competitive position.
 
Some of the traders have withdrawn from importing products and resorted to old stock for sale. This however has reduced on their sales and profits which negatively affects their income.
 
Justine Namazzi, also an importer of blankets, says she last imported the goods in February and    attributes this to high costs of importing as a result of the depreciating Shilling.
 
The traders have to grapple with high rent costs which are paid in dollars. Tumusiime says as costs of living go up, their income is either fixed or going down.
 
//Cue in: "Rent esigala wagulu….
Cue out:…sente ntono."//
 
Fred Kaboyo, whose business is located in the newly-built Ham Shopping Grounds near Nakivubo Stadium, says he was previously paying 5.6million Shillings as rent per month. This has since jumped to 6.3 million Shillings. Ham Shopping Grounds management collects rent in dollars.
 
Some of the traders say they have difficulties accessing loans since interest rates keep changing as the Shilling loses more ground against the Dollar. Susan Atwine, an importer clothes, says she has struggled to service her loans due to the high interest rates and uncertainty in the market.
 
Martin Akankwasa, another trader operating in Kikuubo in downtown Kampala, says any attempt to hike prices so as to meet costs, turns away customers.
 
//Cue in: "Bwokituusa nga kyalinye…
Cue out…mba sigudde."//
 
The business community still hopes for government intervention to stabilize the Shilling, as Scovia Chandiru, a business woman based at Nabukeera Plaza in downtown Kampala explains.
 
//Cue in: "Government eyina okuyingira…
Cue out:…ziyina omugaso."//