How suspension of MV Kalangala operations has affected businesses

The suspension of MV Kalangalas operations close to two weeks ago for a mandatory survey and maintenance has left many businesses affected, mostly hospitality.

Affected businesses include snack vendors, craft shops, fish vendors, hotels, beaches, bodaboda riders, and restaurants, among others.

All these businesses have been surviving on travellers and tourists who cross to Kalangala district using MV Kalangala daily.

Mulindwa Birimumaaso, the proprietor of Pearl Gardens Beach in Kalangala said the number of tourists had dropped by almost 70% since the vessel suspended operations.

"We've been getting visitors booking to full capacity every weekend, however, in the past weekend, all the happening places and beaches were empty," he added.

He further narrated that they only accommodate native tourists whom they can't base on financially compared to international tourists.

Gerald Kafeero, a bodaboda rider, said that daily, they had been earning sh40,000 but currently, their work was at standstill.

"We have resorted to bricklaying for a given period as MV Kalangala is being serviced," said Gerald.

Alternatives

The Government through its Ministry of Works and Transport promised an alternative MV NODL to replace MV Kalangala for a month though it hasn't started operations yet.

Currently, there are three alternative vessels of MV Vanessa, MV Nathalie and MV Brovad all privately owned.

A ticket for a return route from and to Kalangala goes for sh70,000 each person on these vessels, which Islanders can't afford compared to MV Kalangalas' sh10, 000 - sh14,000 each voyage.

The other alternative is a wooden engine boat known as SENCATA, where passengers pay sh20, 000 for a sail from Nakiwogo to Kalangala.

Passengers fear risking their lives by using this wooden boat.

Furthermore, the Masaka route is more expensive and tiresome compared to other means of transport to Kalangala currently.

Islanders have appealed to the Government to speed up servicing MV Kalangala which is the backbone of Islanders' water transport plying between Entebbe and Lutoboka daily.

Source: New Vision

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