President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni on Wednesday officiated the launch of Salaam Bank, Uganda’s pioneering Islamic banking institution, emphasizing its significance in the country’s financial landscape.

Islamic banking, grounded in Islamic principles, prohibits the payment and receipt of interest, instead focusing on profit-sharing and Sharia-compliant investment tools to generate returns.

The inauguration took place during Ramathan dua prayers convened by the Office of the National Chairman-NRM at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds in Kampala.

President Museveni, extending warm wishes for Ramathan, urged believers to engage in income-generating activities for improved livelihoods.

Addressing the audience, he underscored the importance of various sectors such as commercial agriculture, manufacturing, services, and ICT in poverty alleviation, highlighting government initiatives like Entandikwa, NAADS, Operation Wealth Creation, Emyooga, and the Parish Development Model (PDM) to facilitate access to startup capital.

Acknowledging concerns regarding riba (interest), President Museveni assured the Muslim community of discussions to address any conflicts with Islamic teachings, affirming his commitment to ensuring equitable access to government programs.

Emphasizing the NRM’s stance against discrimination, President Museveni highlighted the party’s inclusive approach, citing Uganda’s re-entry into the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) during his tenure as an example of promoting diversity.

Welcoming Salaam Bank to Uganda, President Museveni assured support for its operations in the country, acknowledging the potential of the growing market with a current population of 48 million.

Mr. Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Djibouti, conveyed greetings from President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh and commended Salaam Bank’s continental aspirations, citing Uganda’s conducive financial environment.

Expressing gratitude, Hajjat Hadijah Uzeiye Namyalo praised President Museveni’s support for the Muslim community, hailing the establishment of Salaam Bank as a testament to his commitment to economic empowerment.

Speaking on behalf of Muslims, Sheikh Erias Kigozi lauded President Museveni’s leadership, particularly his efforts in securing Muslim property rights and appointing Muslims to key government positions.

In appreciation of President Museveni’s support, Mr. Ibrahim M. Abdirahman, Chairman of Salaam Bank’s Board, highlighted the pivotal role of the President in facilitating the establishment of the bank, marking a significant milestone in Uganda’s economic development journey.

With Salaam Bank granted its license in September 2023, the event marked a historic moment witnessed by Salaam Bank officials, Ugandan government representatives, and religious leaders, among others.

Kimera Abdul is a Senior Journalist with Plus News Uganda. He identifies as an adaptable and enthusiastic individual who works to inspire generations. He posses a Diploma and Broadcast journalism and has...

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