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Uncertainty Still Lingers as Kalangala Ferries Resume Operations

John Opondo, the Managing Director KISL, says despite being promised money before the end of February, they havent received a penny.
MV Pearl one of the ferries providing ferry services between Masaka and Kalangala

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There is uncertainty about future of ferry services to Kalangala district, despite the decision by Kalangala Infrastructures Services Limited-KISL to call off its strike. Last week, KISL grounded MV Pearl and MV Ssese ferries citing none payment by government.

KISL operates both ferries under the Public Private partnership. The two ferries provide transport services between Bukakata landing site in Masaka and Luku-Bugoma landing site in Kalangala district. 

Government allocates unspecified funds to the firm through Uganda National Roads Authority-UNRA each financial year for the ferry services. However, government has not released any funds to the firm this financial year, which has crippled its operations. 

Last week, Works Ministry and UNRA officials met the protesting KISL officials and persuaded them to resume their operations, saying they will receive money before the end of February. John Opondo, the Managing Director KISL, says despite being promised money before the end of February, they haven't received a penny. 

He says the delayed release of the money is affecting their operations, adding that despite resuming normal ferry services, they are uncertain of their payments. Mark Ssali, the UNRA Spokesperson told URN on phone that government is still negotiating with the firm on the payments. 

Some of the residents interviewed by URN are uncertain about the ferry services. Fred Badda, the former Bujumba County Member of Parliament in Kalangala, says the failure by government to pay for the ferry services exposes it to litigation for breach of contract.

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Badda also says the uncertainty of ferry the operations leaves Kalangala isolated in terms of transport and service delivery.

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Willy Lugoloobi, the Kalangala LC V Chairman wants the agreement between government and KISL reviewed. According to Lugoloobi, government pays a lot of money to KISL yet the economy is not doing well.

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Lugoloobi notes that Kalangala lost millions in revenue when the ferry services were grounded.

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