Kampala — THE Government has secured funds to refurbish its grounded ships, MV Pamba and MV Kawa, John Nasasira, the transport minister, has said.
He said the Government had secured funds from the World Bank and other sources for the work, adding that consultants had already been engaged for the exercise.
"Revamping these vessels is one of the interventions the Government is putting in place to promote water transport," the minister said.
Nasasira explained that water transport was cheaper compared to other modes of transport.
"The ships are expected to start operations in 2010 and 2011 respectively," he said at the 5th joint transport sector review workshop in Kampala recently.
All vessels plying the Bukoba-Mwanza-Port Bell route were foreign-owned, Nasasira said. Another ship, MV Kabalega, sank in L.Victoria two years ago.
However participants from the workshop during their field tour to Port Bell expressed concern over the government's reluctance and delays to refurbish these vessels which is likely to hike the costs of their repair
Hon. Abraham Byandala (Katikamu North) also the chairman for the Physical Infrastructure Committee Port Bell landing site is very small yet it has enough space for expansion and asked the government to take punitive action against contractors who do shoddy work.