The chairperson of Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), Mr Daudi Migereko, has said government plans to renovate Jinja Pier in order to boost business.
Mr Migereko said when Ms Monica Azuba was handing over the Works ministry to Gen Katumba Wamala last month, emphasis was put on streamlining water transport and Jinja pier is no exception.
He noted that in order to ease freight services within the East African Community member states, there is need to renovate the pier to lower the cost of doing business.
“The Ministry of Works and Transport will dispatch a team next week to carry out an evaluation and establish how much the renovation will cost,” Mr Migereko said on Wednesday.
Mr Yassin Kyazze, the mayor of Njeru Municipal Council, who receives goods through the Jinja Pier, said: “The renovation will reduce on costs incurred on the transportation of goods by road and create job opportunities to residents, especially the youths because shifting goods from ships to trucks will require both mechanical and human labour.
“Water transport is one of the cheapest means of transport and there is no traffic jam like on the roads, so government should expedite its renovation process,” Mr Kyazze added.
Mr Abdala Mukisa, who operates a business around the pier, said: “Sometime back, around 2018, engineers took measurements and even talked to us about the development of the pier, but no development was made.”
Mr Abbas Kaddu, another resident, who has dealt in charcoal business for more than 15 years, said employment priorities should first be given to the locals.
The Jinja Municipal Council speaker, Mr Moses Bizitu, said the pier is in a bad state.
“Since this place was abandoned, railway slippers have been stolen and all facilities here no longer operate. If government renovates the pier, it will become one of the main sources of revenue for the council as it was in the past,” Mr Bizitu said.
ABOUT THE PIER
It was constructed on the banks of Lake Victoria around 1967 by the British colonial government to ease freight and passenger rail services within the then three East African Community (EAC) member states of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.
Until 2006, the pier was under the management of Uganda Railways Corporation (URC) before ceding management to Rift Valley Railways (RVR) and the Fisheries ministry.