UGANDA, KENYA AGREE TO ENHANCE TRADE ON LAKE VICTORIA

Uganda and Kenya Governments agreed to enhance trade on Lake Victoria, a move that will see Uganda use the Lake to transport its oil imports from Kenya.

This followed a meeting in Kisumu between Uganda National Resistance Movement (NRM) vice chairman Eastern Region Captain Mike Mukula, President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

During a courtesy call on Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong, Captain Mukula said Uganda is moving towards reviving transport and trade on Lake Victoria which hit a snag in 2005 after an accident in which two Ugandan ships collided while transporting goods to and from Tanzania.

“Uganda is concerned that Lake Victoria which is the largest Lake in Africa has remained unutilized for many years, thus the need by the two countries to bring it back to life,” he said, adding that he was accompanied at the talks by Uganda Minister of State for Transport Simon Chebrot and Managing Director Uganda Railway Corporation Charles Kateeba.

Captain Mukula said they agreed to expand trade between the two sister states so that the former railway facilities now under Kenya and Uganda railways can be utilized to transport cargo from Mombasa Port Bell and beyond and movement of people, which is faster, be enhanced between Kisumu and Uganda.

“There are other opportunities for services and goods including beans, maize, fertilizer, fruits and many others which Kenya and Uganda can trade in,” he said.

The former Soroti Municipality MP said the critical area they discussed with the President was on water hyacinth that has invaded and encircled many ports and bays of Kenya; It has blocked and chocked the movement of ship and boats into the Lake, needs emergency rescue.

“There is also need to desilt the old port of Kisumu and the Kenya Pipeline Company jetty and to put to an end erosion of fertile soil from the island and discharge of effluent into the Lake, thus silting it,” he said.

Captain Mukula said Uganda government is building the largest fuel storage in terms of throughput of 70million litres at Kauko on the shores of Lake Victoria. One ship has a capacity of 4.8m litres of fuel; Uganda consumes an average of 5m litres.

Governor Ojaamong said Busia is a strategic entry point with plans for an oil depot which will help reduce traffic accidents and improve turnaround time for oil shipment destined for the Lake Region states.

He said the border county is also conducive for a logistic hub (dry port) to receive and clear goods through customs that arrive by air, rail or road, thus easing pressure on the port of Mombasa.

 

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