Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) leadership handed over aids to navigation to the Republic of Uganda Friday, 5th August, 2016.
The event which took place at Port Bell, Kampala, Uganda was attended by the high ranking government officials, Permanent Secretary, Directors, Commissioners, LVBC Staff among others.
Handing over Marine Administration Block, 12 Aids to Navigation equipments, Speed Boat, Flags of East African Community and Operating Manuals of the facilities to Uganda Ministers of Water and Environment and Works and Transport, the Executive Secretary for LVBC Dr. Ally-Said Matano, said this is "another milestone in making transport on Lake Victoria easier, quicker and safer."
Hon. Sam Cheptoris, the Uganda's Minister for Water and Environment received the aids to navigation from LVBC and he also handed them over to Hon. Aggrey Henry Bagiire, Minister responsible for Works and Transport in Uganda.
Citing the LVBC Protocol for Sustainable Development, Dr. Matano told participants that Navigation, Transport and Communication, forms part of the strategic regional approaches ensuring that Lake Victoria is used sustainably for transportation and other associated socio-economic activities.
Reminding participants about the unfortunate capsizing of MV Bukoba accident in 1996 which claimed over 600 lives, the LVBC Executive Secretary emphasized that the intervention to improve navigation, transport and communication on Lake Victoria and other activities coordinated by LVBC point to "respecting the integrity of 40 million people living in the Lake Victoria Basin."
Multiple activities, such as studies, capacity building activities, setting up legislative, institutional and regulatory frameworks were undertaken prior to handing over hardware part of Lake Victoria Environment Management Project Phase two (LVEMP II).
Such mix of soft and hardware interventions were lauded by Hon. Edith N. Mwanje, the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of East African Community Affairs, Uganda saying that "such hard interventions are visible, tangible and demonstrate that regional integration agenda delivers results."
She noted: " This is demonstrates the ability of different national and regional institutions to work together to achieve common regional development objectives."
To effectively streamline Maritime Transport, EAC Partner States mainly Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya have started domesticating Lake Victoria Transport Act, Lake Victoria Navigation operating Procedures and creating Maritime Administration departments.
According to LVBC, the precursor of Lake Victoria Transport Act and other operating standards and procedures, the harmonization and domestication of instruments is one of the prerequisites for sustainable navigation and transport on Lake Victoria.
After receiving aids to navigation facilities, the Minister of Works and Transport, Hon. Aggrey Henry Bagiire applauded the efforts of development partners such as World Bank, Africa Development Bank, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and East African Partner States in improving transport on Lake Victoria transport.
He said that Maritime transport features among the priority areas for the Government of Uganda basing on the fact that water is the cheapest mode of transport not only in Uganda but worldwide.
He expressed the Ministry's commitment to revitalizing Maritime Transport, navigation and Transport by ensuring the received facilities are effectively maintained and managed.
The Minister of Water and Environment, Hon. Sam Cheptoris also reechoed commendation of Word Bank as good partner in development, and LVBC for effective coordination of state and non state actors towards sustainable development in the wider Lake Victoria Basin.
"Through LVBC interventions, we continually see the dream of regional integration becoming a reality," Hon Sam Cheptoris said.