Uganda government has embarked on the construction of two ferries that will provide passenger, car and cargo transport services on Lake Kyoga.
The design and building of the two marine vessels awarded by the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to Songoro Marine Transport Limited is worth Sh26.5 billion (Ush41 billion).
The laying of the stone comes just a week after the Tanzania-based firm completed and handed over MV Palm Ferry to Uganda government.
The ferry has the capacity of carrying 500 passengers, 24 cars and 34 tonnes of cargo built at a cost of Sh7.8 billion.
Songoro Marine Transport Limited CEO Major Songoro told The Citizen this week that construction work of the two new passenger, car and cargo ferries commenced on May 5, 2022 in Uganda and is planned to be completed in March 2023.
“Construction of these ferries is ongoing and we expect to complete them within the time specified in our contract,” said Mr Songoro.
Uganda’s Transport minister Fred Byamukama said the ferries, which would be of the same capacity as the MV Palm ferry, would help to overcome transport challenges encountered by residents of Bukungu and Kagwara in the country.
He noted, initially the residents of the areas were facing the challenge of transport across Lake Kyoga whereas some of them had to use canoes hence endangering their safety.
“Through this project employment opportunities would be generated to Ugandans as more than 75 percent of the workers at the site would be recruited from our country, contrary to other companies which recruit employees from their country of origin,” said Mr Byamukama.
For his part, Tanzania’s High Commissioner to Uganda Aziz Mlima said the project would not only promote diplomatic co-operation but also would strengthen economic diplomacy between the two countries.
He urged the contractor (Songoro Marine) to adhere to the rules and standards of the contract, noting that doing so would create a positive impression and encourage more contractual tender to be given to Tanzanians companies.
“This marks a good step ahead in the relationship between Tanzania and Uganda, I urge Songoro to ensure that he fulfills the requirements highlighted in the contract of these ferries including completing construction in time. I believe if he does that he will be given more tenders,”said Mr Mlima.
The completion of the two ferries would bring the number of the vessels operating on Lake Kyoga to four.